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It's Magic

Ahmad Jamal

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Album Review

Ahmad Jamal's minimalist style has served him well throughout his career, as he enjoys making frequent sudden detours in the midst of a performance, with his intuitive rhythm section able to adapt on the fly. His longtime bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad are joined by Latin percussionist Manolo Badrena for these 2007 sessions. The half-dozen originals include the curious "Back to the Island," which blends a calypso air (while interpolating "Ol' Man River" and "Hot House" in his solo) with Latin flavor and even a bit of an Irish jig in spots, along with the dark, exotic "Arabesque," which sounds as if it might have been adapted from an impressionist composer in classical music. Jamal also works wonders with standards, including a lush, dramatic solo rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight" and a leisurely "It's Magic" that adds a few of his trademark flourishes. Even though Ahmad Jamal can sometimes rely a bit too heavily on song quotes (his insertion of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" into "Dynamo" comes off a bit ham-handed), jazz piano fans will enjoy this release.

Biography

Born: July 2, 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...
Full Bio
It's Magic, Ahmad Jamal
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  • $8.91
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 10, 2008

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