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The Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings

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Album Review

This collection brings together the early OKeh and Epic recordings of innovative jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, recorded between 1951 and 1955. Jamal ushered in a new era of melodic improvisation that stood in sharp contrast to bebop's previous innovations. These recordings were all done in trio settings, where the pianist was accompanied by guitarist Ray Crawford, and either Eddie Calhoun (1951 and 1952) or Israel Crosby on bass. The shimmering solos and light as a feather chord voicings are anything but lightweight. Sharp, harmonic invention, economical yet intuitive phrasing, and a deft sense of time pushed Jamal's star to ascendancy. Standout cuts here are his "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," which extrapolates the melody into new harmonic terrain; the beautiful arrangement of the traditional "Billy Boy"; Fats Waller's "Squeeze Me" with its beautiful ostinato, and Jamal's glorious read of "Perfidia." The sound on this set is gloriously remastered. There are period liner notes by Nat Hentoff, and a moving and appreciative essay by Randy Weston.

Customer Reviews

STOP! STOP! STOP!!

I will go crazier if I hear another FANTASTIC JAZZ album from the Jamal creative 1950's era. For all of you that are looking for smooth jazz, something with more jive and less angst than Coletraine, THIS IS IT. Listen and enjoy.

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
The Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings, Ahmad Jamal
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Aug 16, 2005

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