Ahmad Jamal

Ahmad Jamal ( born July 2, 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as Frederick Russell Jones) is an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger. His name was Frederick "Fritz" Russell Jones, before he joined in 1952 to Islam. The pianist has a very individual styles; for Miles Davis, he was the " biggest inspiration. "

Life and work

Jamal had already from the age of four piano lessons, attended Westinghouse High School and enters professionally since his youth. First he went with George Hudson on tour and worked in 1949 and 1950 at the Four strings to Joe Kennedy, Jr.. Decades he has worked mostly in the classic piano trio with bass and drums, 1950-1955 but first in the drum-less trio with Israel Crosby, bass, and Ray Crawford, guitar ( Oscar Peterson Trio derartigem ago with Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis 1952 ). Starting in 1956, Jamal played with a conventionally occupied Trio, first with Israel Crosby and (later) Jamil Nasser as bassist and drummers like Vernell Fournier ( sometimes supplemented by guitarist Ray Crawford ). The album Live at the Pershing with the song Poinciana was 1958 Millionenhit. In 1959, he toured Africa, then several times through Europe. In the early 1960s, he has attracted the active also as a club manager and later as a music producer pianist. His longtime bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad marked the trio of the most recent phase, with the Jamal repeatedly toured between 1998 and 2002 in Europe and live recordings grossed. In some productions, the trio is sometimes supplemented by a show orchestra of brass, strings and background singers. The starting material is the Great American Songbook alongside original compositions.

From Jamal's Association of pop with jazz innovations grows his reputation with the public ( U.S. PopChart rankings for decades, up to the 3rd place). Music critics ignored him for a long time. Representative recent recordings include Crystal (1987) and Live In Paris (1992).


Jamal has " always thought orchestral " according to own data. His combos - already successful with Poinciana and But Not For Me mid-1950s guitar trio, but also the achievements of fusion music aufgreifende quartet Rossi Rochester Road (1986, with James Cammack, Herlin Riley and percussionist Manolo Badrena ) - are among the " most integrated the history of jazz ". His music in small ensembles [note 1] always sounds unmistakably: creates tension " his constant, almost Style expectant refusal to play off his extensive technical background. " He has a nuanced stop, " which allows him the finest dynamic differentiation ", and sets the pedal a very conscious. He plays rhythmically precise and swings safely without syncopate with a very straight rhythm. His rhythm section often plays in Twobeat and comes with four-bar interludes and degrees, the day, interrupted ..

Jamal's works combine elegance and an easy-listening overall impression with independent and daring experiments: Sweet strings and choirs, catchy melodies and rhythms form the seemingly inputs surface or the packaging material for some avant-garde percussive, minimalist, virtuoso or clusters game of the pianist. [Note 2 ] where these disparate ingredients do not fall apart, but flow into each other. Often missing extended solos, in their place are a closely knit ensemble parts, interspersed with improvisations. The concept aims at broad appeal and acceptance on the one hand, ambitious game with sparkling surprises and challenges on the other.


Miles Davis commented since the 1950s, repeated his respect, continued to influence Jamal and his trio musicians such as Julian Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Gil Evans and the fusion music of the 1970s. Critics have the "master of musical economy" ( Martin Kunzler ) until the 1970s repeatedly equated with a bar pianist. Hal Galper has, however, pointed out that he "one of the most important forces in contemporary jazz [ is ] so important as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, although he does not get its due recognition."

Since the 1970s, his individual style has consolidated such that Jamal also for criticizing " the most distinctive sound creators of moderate jazz piano " counts. More recent albums such as In Search of Momentum (2002), After Fajr (2004) as well as numerous concerts worldwide now praise and critics: " Trenchant breaks, irascible runs hard chord ratios and motif pointed stubbornness interwoven with stage eccentricities and perfectionism to the distinctive artistic personality. "

Prizes and awards

1994 Jamal was honored with the National Endowment for the Arts NEA Jazz Masters Award with the; He was awarded the French Django d'Or in 1996. The end of 2012 his album Blue Moon was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album category.

Disco printing specifications

  • Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 ( Chess, 1958, 1961) with Crosby and Fournier
  • The Awakening ( Impulse! Records, 1970) with Jamil Nasser, Frank Gant
  • Chicago Revisited ( Telarc, 1993) with John Heard, Yoron Israel
  • I Remember Duke, Hoagy & Strayhorn ( Telarc, 1994) with Ephraim Wolfolk, Arti Dixson
  • A L' Olympia ( Dreyfus, 2000) with George Coleman, James Cammack, Idris Muhammad
  • It's Magic ( Dreyfus, 2008) with James Cammack, Idris Muhammad
  • Blue Moon ( Jazz Village, 2012) with Reginald Veal, Herlin Riley, Manolo Badrena
  • Saturday Morning ( Jazz Village, 2013)


  • The Complete Ahmad Jamal Trio Argo Sessions (1958-1962) - ( Mosaic - 2009 ) - 9 CDs with Israel Crosby, Walter Perkins, Vernel Fournier, Ray Crawford, Joe Kennedy, violin, and as an arranger and conductor of a string orchestra