Ahmad Jamal: But Not for Me


But Not For Me


Ahmad Jamal (piano)


Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing (Telstar TSD3604 )

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Ahmad Jamal (piano), Israel Crosby (bass), Vernel Fournier (drums).

Composed by George & Ira Gershwin


Recorded: Chicago, January 16-17, 1958


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

One of the slickest things about this arrangement of “But Not For Me” is that it defines Ahmad Jamal’s subtleties. In the trio, each guy is doing something very specific, but you don’t think you’re listening to an arrangement—you’re just enjoying the ride. When Ahmad Jamal improvises on a form, he’s constantly playing over the barline—he’s not strictly defining the top and end of a form, but completely easing across it musically, making for an entity versus a series of choruses. You don’t think about keys or tempos or modulations or time signatures or anything like that. Another slick thing about the piece is that super-hip modulation at the top of the last chorus, where he slides right from C-major (his favorite key) into F-major. For years, I didn’t even realize that he had modulated.

Reviewer: Eric Reed

If you liked this track, also check out

Ahmad Jamal: Autumn Leaves
Ahmad Jamal: Poinciana
Keith Jarrett: Poinciana

Related Links

The Dozens: Twelve Essential Ahmad Jamal Performances by Eric Reed
Ahmad Jamal’s ‘Poinciana’ Turns 50 Today by Ted Gioia

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  • 1 claude young // Mar 05, 2009 at 02:30 PM
    Hi im 70years old and followed Admad Jamal since 1957... I lived in N.Y. till 1985 , now in Ca... I bought tickets to see Ahmad Jamal when he was appearing at the Town music center in Cerritos a few years ago...When will appear next please email me. I love this man music....cyporsche@peoplepc.com thank you