Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ahmad Jamal - It's Magic (Dreyfus, 2008)

Pianist Ahmad Jamal has one of the most unique touches on the piano in all of jazz. Originally he was popular in the 1950's for a gentle blend of cocktail jazz that employed the use of space and impressed the like of Miles Davis. More recently his music has employed loud-soft dynamism that makes it come alive with a living, breathing elasticism. With his longstanding bandmates, James Cammack on bass, Idris Muhammad on drums and joined by Manolo Badrena on percussion, the band jumps right into the give and take from the start with the approprietly named "Dynamo" and the interesting "Swahililand" with show the daredevil lyricism inherent in Jamal's playing and the near telepathic rapport he has with the other members of the band. The title track "It's Magic" slows the tempo to an introspective half-speed, before the medley of "Wild Is the Wind>Sing" kicks things back up to breakneck choreography. This is a fine album, demonstrating that Jamal has never stopped growing or learning as a musician, and that whether it is an obscure show tune or an original composition, Ahmad Jamal always has a fresh perspective to offer.
It's Magic - Amazon.com

Send comments to: Tim