Ahmad Jamal: Autumn in New York
Autumn in New York
Ahmad Jamal (piano)
Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal (Chess CHD31266)
Composed by Vernon Duke.
Recorded: Washington, D.C., September 5-6, 1958
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Ahmad Jamal utilizes so many devices—modulations, space, vamps, intros, interludes, shout choruses, tempo shifts, musical quotes, meter and groove shifts, exotic feels, the element of surprise. These aren’t devices that he introduced to jazz (you can hear modulations and interludes in Jelly Roll Morton’s music, and Ahmad took cues from his mentors, Art Tatum, Nat Cole and Erroll Garner), but Ahmad Jamal synthesized them better than most. This arrangement is so funky. He plays the intro and, as with a lot of things that Ahmad plays, he gives no hint or foreshadowing of what’s to come. Unless you’ve heard the arrangement before, you have no idea what he’s getting ready to do. He’s my favorite ballad player. His approach to interpreting melody is unique and individual, not like most of the recorded ballads that you’ll hear on those Blue Note or Prestige recordings, where the cats play the melody, then solo, and then you take it out. Every time Ahmad Jamal plays or records a song, he takes you on a fantastic journey.
Reviewer: Eric Reed
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The Dozens: Twelve Essential Ahmad Jamal Performances by Eric Reed
Ahmad Jamal’s ‘Poinciana’ Turns 50 Today by Ted Gioia