Ahmad Jamal: Back to the Island


Back to the Island


Ahmad Jamal (piano)


It's Magic (Dreyfus Records)

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Ahmad Jamal (piano), Idris Muhammad (drums),

James Cammak (bass), Manolo Badrena (percussion)


Composed by Ahmad Jamal


Recorded: Strasbourg, France, November 25 – 28, 2007


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

If you like vintage Ahmad Jamal, you will not be disappointed by this track from his 2008 CD It's Magic. Here are all Jamal's signature moves: roller coaster changes in dynamics, kick-in-the-pants vamps, more space than a foreclosed McMansion. Through it all, the pianist tosses out incisive phrases, booming two-handed chords and passing flurries of notes. Of course, Jamal knows that he has his own traditions to uphold. At one point he interpolates a quick reference to "Poinciana," and at another juncture he goes even further back in the past with a nod to "Hot House." But this not a dry history lesson. The whole performance is infused with an attractive Caribbean flavor. Jamal with jerk sauce . . . very spicy!

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

If you liked this track, also check out

Ahmad Jamal: But Not For Me
Ahmad Jamal: Poinciana
Keith Jarrett: Poinciana

Related Links

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


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