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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 February 2012
Five HUGE Stars!! The awesome "Blue Moon" is one of Ahmad Jamal's best! This CD captures jazz hall of fame composer, innovator, and piano genius Ahmad Jamal at age 81 and at the height of his musical powers": swinging, attacking, and improvising as creatively as he has throughout an illustrious career. This Jamal quartet is composed of the ingenious percussionism of 22 year Jamal 'conguero' Manolo Badrena, the vital bottom pulse of Reginald Veal on his bass violin, and master drummer Herlin Riley, a welcome addition to the drum kit again after 20 years. Mr Jamal, already in other international halls of fame, in 2011 became the most recent addition to the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame. Here he is in splendid compositional and improvisational form, lengthening the performance time of most songs for more extensive explorations. The result is a whopping 72 minute CD with all of the characteristics that have made him a jazz favorite for decades: beguiling vamps, smoking pedal-points, lush interludes, sudden tempo changes, extensive ballad expositions, and hard-swinging solos in uncompromising virtuosity. In addition, the bass and percussion players 'crank it up' a notch to the boiling point on many songs.

The performances are uniformly great, but my favorites begin with the latin-flavored "Blue Moon" which is on display in one of Mr Jamal's arrangements of endlessly looping 'pedal-points' (which he originated with his mega-hit Poinciana and which inspired the Miles Davis and John Coltrane 'modal' frameworks) based on a 5-note figuration by bassist Veal, with Badrena and Riley cutting loose on percussion with rim shots, rolling snare figures, crashing cymbals, cowbell accents, and a timbale 'clave'. The relaxing and invigorating beauty of "I Remember Italy" musically is what it must be like to stroll through an Italian vineyard on a nice breezy day. The funky, lovely "This Is The Life " is taken from the "history making" Sammy Davis Jr. musical' "Golden Boy". A simmering version of "Invitation" has bassist Veal, drummer Riley, and 'conguero' Badrena laying down a swinging carpet of rhythmic fireworks that Jamal seems to revel in with his jabbing, probing improvistations. And perhaps best of all, the power and beauty of Ahmad's magnificent treatment of the standard "Laura" is destined to go down as one of his greatest ballad performances, ranking up there with his cult classic Maryam arguably one of the greatest ballad performances in the history of jazz. These awesome 6 minutes have a fleet-fingered Ahmad deconstructing the melody into bits and pieces that pop up at various points along the way, while he spins and returns to an ingenious 10-note recurring phrase which takes the "Laura" into new hip melodic territory until the final "But she's only a dream" notes. This song, which has fascinated him since he heard Erroll Garner perform it in the 1940s, is a performance that alludes to the history of jazz piano. Overall, this recording has wall-to-wall fabulous performances by one of jazz' greatest pianists: Ahmad Jamal, performing on his beloved Steinway grand piano with a supporting cast of excellent musicians and it gets My Highest Recommendation. Five MARVELOUS Stars! (This review is based on an mp3 download. 9 Tracks; Time-72:12.)
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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.
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on 25 January 2015
Not everything improves with age but Ahmad Jamal does...A brilliant modern album played with such verve and intonation. The recording is good with decent tonal balance and has been well engineered.
You cannot wear out a CD but this may be the first......
Heaven would be Ahmad Jamal at Ronnie Scott's !!
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on 30 January 2013
This is brilliant. Autumn rain (track 1) starts out a bit electronic, but it even works, and what an evolution. I loved the teasing twist on Blue Moon. Beautiful, and the rest of the album just matures into such beautiful contemporary American Classical music - Jazzzzzzz........
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on 2 February 2013
Grandes músicos, grande musica, excelentes arranjos. Uma delicia para os sentidos e para a alma. Um disco para quem gosta de grande musica.
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on 26 December 2012
Awesome energetic playing by 90-something master. I am excited by his trio. It's a journey of discovery still, with Blue Moon being my current favorite.
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on 31 July 2013
A great addition to my jazz collection. I particularly enjoy watching and hearing the exhilerating piano performance on the DVD. The man can certainly swing.
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on 12 February 2013
Need to be a "modern jazz" lover to appreciate this disc but clearly a great exponent of his art and talent.
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on 17 June 2015
more more
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on 28 October 2015
all good
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