`Ahmad's Blues' was a live jazz club recording in Chicago in 1958 originally released by the world-famous Chess Records. This re-mastered MCA CD is enjoyable from first bar to last. Jamal lays back in the groove with Israel Crosby on bass and drummer Vernel Fournier, and gives the obviously appreciative audience a rollicking good time.
Jamal is one of the greatest ever jazz pianists. His virtuoso playing is surprisingly accessible and easy to listen to. This is not just Ahmed and his rhythm section but a tight trio who obviously loved playing together, with space given to the other musicians to shine. The trio work through 16 great numbers; a couple of the band's own compositions (the opening title track and `Seleritus') and improvisation around some well-known icons from the canon - `Autumn Leaves', `Stompin at the Savoy' (listen out for a subtle and witty reference to the French National Anthem) and `Cheek to Cheek' stand out, but there is nothing less than very good here, and much which is truly outstanding.
This is the kind of very high quality, relaxing and almost chill-out CD you can (and probably will) play again and again at home, as background to many activities, in the car and anywhere you care to be accompanied by good music which is not too insistent, doesn't mind if you can't give it your full attention but rewards you if you can. It's in the same general groove as `Kind of Blue' and Cannonball Adderley's `Something Else'.
Miles was a great fan of Jamal's playing, which comes as no surprise.