AHMAD JAMAL, SATURDAY MORNING

  Ahmad Jamal is a true original with a style all his own, and he’s been influencing jazz musicians, past and present, ever since he recorded But Not For Me: Ahmad Jamal Live at The Pershing Lounge in 1958 that catapulted him into the history books. Capturing the same flavor and vibe from that early date, Jamal’s Saturday Morning spotlights the pianist and his longtime trio, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and percussionist Manolo Badrena, on a clutch of original tunes that are as intriguing and sonically wonderful as one could want.


In addition to his captivating take on Ellington’s “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good,” Saturday Morning is a perfect way to reacquaint yourself with the pianist whose percussive rhythms and elastic time signatures make you want to get up and dance. With plenty of space for Jamal, Veal and Riley to weave tight, concentric improvisations from the briefest motifs, the record is a breezy ride highlighted by funky dynamics (“The Line”) a tribute to a fellow jazz master named Horace (“Silver”) and a replay of “One,” a staple in Jamal’s repertoire built on an indelible hook and deft trio interplay. Recorded in February, 2013, the originals make for a dazzling celebration of upbeat musical genres -- ska, reggae and a wisp of second like swing can appear in a flash, then dissolve on Jamal’s whim. The strong and memorable title cut echoes the easy groove of his classic “Poinciana” and where for more than ten minutes, Jamal exercises continuous invention, massaging the hook and its chorus over and again, playfully adjusting his touch to boost the bass notes or let notes fade with a feather-like touch on the keys. He hits his improvisational stride nearly five minutes in, releasing pent-up grace notes like “fireworks from the soul.” That’s an apt description from a poem in the liner notes that inspired Saturday Morning, which concludes “Life is simple, why complicate it?” Indeed, Jamal has never sounded better or clearer in his intent. (11 tracks; 60 minutes)




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JAZZ IN SPACE: AHMAD JAMAL, SATURDAY MORNING

Friday, October 4, 2013

AHMAD JAMAL, SATURDAY MORNING

  Ahmad Jamal is a true original with a style all his own, and he’s been influencing jazz musicians, past and present, ever since he recorded But Not For Me: Ahmad Jamal Live at The Pershing Lounge in 1958 that catapulted him into the history books. Capturing the same flavor and vibe from that early date, Jamal’s Saturday Morning spotlights the pianist and his longtime trio, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and percussionist Manolo Badrena, on a clutch of original tunes that are as intriguing and sonically wonderful as one could want.


In addition to his captivating take on Ellington’s “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good,” Saturday Morning is a perfect way to reacquaint yourself with the pianist whose percussive rhythms and elastic time signatures make you want to get up and dance. With plenty of space for Jamal, Veal and Riley to weave tight, concentric improvisations from the briefest motifs, the record is a breezy ride highlighted by funky dynamics (“The Line”) a tribute to a fellow jazz master named Horace (“Silver”) and a replay of “One,” a staple in Jamal’s repertoire built on an indelible hook and deft trio interplay. Recorded in February, 2013, the originals make for a dazzling celebration of upbeat musical genres -- ska, reggae and a wisp of second like swing can appear in a flash, then dissolve on Jamal’s whim. The strong and memorable title cut echoes the easy groove of his classic “Poinciana” and where for more than ten minutes, Jamal exercises continuous invention, massaging the hook and its chorus over and again, playfully adjusting his touch to boost the bass notes or let notes fade with a feather-like touch on the keys. He hits his improvisational stride nearly five minutes in, releasing pent-up grace notes like “fireworks from the soul.” That’s an apt description from a poem in the liner notes that inspired Saturday Morning, which concludes “Life is simple, why complicate it?” Indeed, Jamal has never sounded better or clearer in his intent. (11 tracks; 60 minutes)




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