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Octogenarian master still at the top of his game,
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This review is from: Blue Moon - Ahmad Jamal (Audio CD)
With `Blue Moon' Ahmad Jamal has delivered a jazz masterpiece for the 21st century, and trumped even fellow octogenarian saxophonist Wayne Shorter's superb and contemporary `Without a Net'. How do these guys keep on getting better? It's one of life's mysteries.
Often quoted by the late Miles Davis as his chief inspiration, Jamal demonstrates at age 82 that he continues to innovate and refuses to rest on his laurels. This superb collection sees Ahmad accompanied by Herlin Riley on drums and Manolo Badrena on percussion, with Reginald Veal on bass replacing the long-serving James Cammack in the quartet.
The percussive interplay between Riley and Badrena at times dominates the soundscape, Riley laying down an insistent rock rhythm and Badrena's dynamic counterplay giving the numbers an upbeat feel superficially at odds with Jamal's lounge-music style. Unperturbed, Jamal's melodious cadences soar over the top playfully; you can never predict how his phrases will develop, where they will lead. Miles claimed Jamal taught him that it's the spaces in the music, what you choose not to play, which gives the music its power, that less is often more. Jamal has been master of this technique for decades, and brings an inventiveness and humour to his playing which is an absolute joy to listen to.
Ahmad Jamal is a rare musical genius, and his contemporary quartet among the best of the best jazz has ever seen. `Jazz Village' belongs to European classical label Harmonia Mundi, and the sound throughout is superb (half the sleeve notes BTW are in French); the production is so good, you actually feel the band is in the room with you.
For all jazz fans and lovers of great, timeless music: don't hesitate to buy.