Bringing The World Home To You

© 2022 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ahmad Jamal: Still Fearless And Innovative At 82

Ahmad Jamal at the grand piano during the <em>Blue Moon</em> sessions.
Jacques Beneich
Ahmad Jamal at the grand piano during the Blue Moon sessions.

Today jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal celebrates his 82nd birthday, presumably near Montauban, France, where he will play a gig tomorrow. In fact, he'll spend most of the month in France, The Netherlands, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey doing what he does best: pouring himself into his enchanting music.

Since the early 1950s, Jamal has been a driving force in jazz, profoundly influencing a number of musicians including Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Jamal's earliest recording sessions were with piano, bass and guitar; he soon replaced the guitar with drums. In each of these formats, Jamal's approach was groundbreaking. In an essay on Jamal, the great critic Stanley Crouch wrote, "Through the use of space and changes of rhythm and tempo, Jamal invented a group sound that had all the surprise and dynamic variation of an imaginatively imagined big band."

Though Jamal occasionally works with larger groups, string sections and orchestras, it is the jazz piano trio format that he revolutionized and continues to explore. As a birthday salute to one of the true masters of jazz, here are five selections from Ahmad Jamal's staggering and ever-expanding body of small-group work.

Copyright 2012 KNKX Public Radio

Tags
More Stories