Jazz music, news and views

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ahmad's Blues


For your Friday: two videos of Ahmad Jamal from Jazz from Studio 61 in 1959. The trio includes Israel Crosby on bass and Vernell Fournier on drums (and some notable onlookers).

"Excerpts from the Blues": There's plenty of breathing room even during the busier moments. He teases us with his restraint at the keyboard, not to mention his dynamic range, whose highs and lows are dramatic but tasteful. Musicians often talk about how difficult it is to play quietly, but Jamal seems most natural during the hushed moments. You can see how closely he keeps his fingers to the keys –- musical economy in all areas.

"Darn That Dream": This is a nice uptempo arrangement. I shouldn't have to mention that this rhythm section is especially swingin'. Jamal's voicings (especially during the hits with the bass and during the "heads") are lovely and lush without being too dense. He takes the most beautiful parts of Count Basie, Nat King Cole and Teddy Wilson and still sounds just like himself: fresh, refined, bluesy, groovy.

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