"At the Pershing: But Not for Me" is considered a jazz classic. The Ahmad Jamal trio played on it and featured Jamal on piano, Israel Crosby on bass, and Vernel Fournier on drums.
Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and Gary Peacock all cite Jamal as a major influence in use of rhythm and space as well as his innovative use of multi-tonal melodic lines. The element of surprise is an important part of Jamal's improvisations to them all.
Jamal's style has changed steadily over time - from the lighter, breezy style heard on his 1950s sides to the Caribbean stylings of the 1970s and onto the large open voicings and bravura-laden playing of the nineties.
Jamal has always been distinctive however for his use of space, his dramatic crescendos, and for a very staccato orientation with chords.
Clint Eastwood featured two recordings from Jamal's album But Not For Me -- "Music, Music, Music" and "Poinciana" -- in the 1995 movie The Bridges of Madison County.
The French government has inducted Ahmad Jamal into the prestigious Order of the Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres , naming him Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on June 2007.