Ahmad Jamal: Crystal




Ahmad Jamal (piano)


Crystal (WEA/Atlantic (G)781793)

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Ahmad Jamal (piano),

James Cammack (bass). David Bowle (drums), Willie White (percussion)


Composed by Ahmad Jamal


Recorded: Warren, Rhode Island, 1987


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

I used to believe that musicians play differently on standards than they do on their own pieces, but I’m not entirely convinced of that notion. Thelonious Monk plays “Sweet and Lovely” and his own “Ruby, My Dear” exactly the same—it’s Monk through and through. However, Ahmad Jamal wrote this particular piece based on his improvisations (somebody once used a word called “comprovisation,” meaning combining composition and improvisation), and it’s a perfect vehicle for him. It’s almost like a rondo, and it taps into his romanticism and lyricism. His own compositions don’t simply follow the AABA format. The intros aren’t just something used to introduce the song. Ahmad Jamal takes every element of the song seriously.

Reviewer: Eric Reed


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