Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ahmad Jamal, Saturday Morning

From his classic trio sides in the fifties and sixties on, Ahmad Jamal has always had a distinct, almost big-band division of labor vision of how piano, bass and drums should work together. Seminal is a word that may be overused, but it certainly applies to those earlier sides.

The good news is that Ahmad and his new incarnation of the trio (plus congas/percussion on occasion) sound as good as ever, yet in close touch with the present. His Blue Moon release (see earlier post by typing in the title in the search box) established that strongly. Now with Saturday Morning (Jazz Village) we have a fine continuation of the revived Jamal.

The program of ballads, standards and a few rock-funk beat numbers brings out the very best in Jamal and the trio. Throughout you hear that pioneering use of space, the inventive smarts of his solo interjections and the rhythm section's heightened role, the ostinatos that set up Jamal's entrances, and of course Jamal's chordally full contrasts with single note expressions; it's all there. But it has evolved, too. He has not stood still.

And it's a true pleasure to hear. Viva Mr. Jamal and his group. Hear this one and you will be made happy, I suspect.

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