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A Quiet Time

Ahmad Jamal

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Album Review

Well into his golden years, Ahmad Jamal continues to tour and record with the vigor of a man half his age. What is also evident is that his artistic sense is as high as it has ever been, as he consistently doles out fresh new melodies charged by his extraordinary talent, which is hardly reined in. A Quiet Time might be a bit deceiving in that there's plenty of Jamal's energy to go around on this set of originals and two standards, sans ballads except for the finale "I Hear a Rhapsody." With longtime partners in bassist James Cammack and drummer Kenny Washington, Jamal breeds the utmost confidence that his music succeeds on the upper end of modern mainstream jazz. Percussionist Manolo Badrena (ex-Weather Report) spices up the music without overt Latin overtures, and balances the swing inherent in Jamal's style. When you hear Jamal's fast and loose but controlled "Paris After Dark" in swinging or heavy modal context, you know your are listening to an undisputed master craftsman at work. The bouncy track "Flight to Russia" has Cammack's bass locked in tight with the others, while Jamal's bright dancing lines across the keyboard during "Tranquility," and his heavy-to-lighter traipsing of notes for the title track indicate that this pianist has plenty in the tank in terms of sheer artistry. While he does a rather polite version of Randy Weston's "Hi-Fly," the contemporary beat of "The Blooming Flower" suggests it is an updated version of his all-time favorite "Poinciana." More of his originals include the cascading freedom exuded in "Poetry" as notes tumble from waterfalls, while the lilting to free to tick-tock pace of "After JALC" proves Jamal can shift gears at will effortlessly. There's nothing even remotely mediocre or rote about this effort, as Ahmad Jamal proves once again his viability to play jazz piano music is still on the rise, and inspired beyond most mortals. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 02 July 1930 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most individualistic pianists, composers, and arrangers of his generation, Ahmad Jamal's disciplined technique and minimalist style had a huge impact on trumpeter Miles Davis, and Jamal is often cited as contributing to the development of cool jazz throughout the 1950s. Though Jamal was a highly technically proficient player, well-versed in the gymnastic idioms of swing and bebop, he chose to play in a more pared down and nuanced style. Which is to say that while he played with the skill...
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