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Timeless musical gem from Jamal, master of the laid-back groove
on 31 October 2011
This album was compiled from a live jazz club recording in 1958 at The Pershing Lounge, and originally released on vinyl by Chess Records.
The masterful Jamal trio, with Israel Crosby on bass and Vernel Fournier on drums, get into a good groove in front of an appreciative audience. The music has a lightness of feel (some of Jamal's critics have claimed he played "cocktail bar music") but at the same time rewards the listener who pays attention. Jamal is a truly great jazzman, not least because you don't need to be a jazz-obsessive to `get' his music: just sit back and enjoy.
Jamal's accessible, easy-to-listen-to piano style belies his musical virtuosity. Greatly admired by Miles Davis and by almost all top-line jazz musicians of the day, Jamal's playing has endured and is still entertaining, relaxing and - yes - even humorous.
At least two different editions of this album are available: the original with only 30-minute running time (but every minute a gem), and an expanded version titled `Complete live at The Pershing Lounge' with added tracks and extended running time. Whichever variant you have in your collection, it is likely to be played often.
If you get to like this, give the album titled `Ahmed's Blues' a listen. It's another live jazz club recording from the period and (if this is possible) it's even better.