Ahmad JAMAL – Chamber Music of the New Jazz 1955

Ahmad JAMAL – Chamber Music of the New Jazz 1955
2004 Issue


This album is unusual in two ways. Because pianist Ahmad Jamal would soon become famous for his piano/bass/drums trios, it is often forgotten that, up until 1956, his group consisted of bassist Israel Crosby and guitarist Ray Crawford. Crawford’s percussive hitting of his guitar would soon be utilized by Herb Ellis in Oscar Peterson’s Trio.
And, although it is known that Miles Davis listened closely to Jamal and often “borrowed” his repertoire, few probably realize that Gil Evans based some of his famous arrangements on Jamal’s interpretations.
A comparison of “New Rumba” and “Medley” (which is really “I Don’t Want To Be Kissed”) on this album with Evans’ version for Miles Ahead in 1957 sounds nearly identical despite the very different personnel. It is a pity that Jamal would soon change his group’s instrumentation since his communication with Crawford and Crosby (heard here on such tunes as “A Foggy Day,” “All of You,” “I Get a Kick out of You” and “Spring Is Here”) was often magical, but he would soon gain great popularity with the upcoming guitarless trio (which was just as telepathic).
If we stress the delicacy of Jamal’s style, we do not mean that this quality is absent from his contemporaries, they all have it in varying degrees, but no one has pushed the quiet tone to its limit as he has done, for example, in the opening strains of his PERFIDIA, or WILL YOU STILL BE MINE, and his records on Okeh, which made him famous. His recent releases on Argo seem to point to a second Jamal phase, a new development of thequietly rhythmic. In passing it might be said that his first LP has one side superior to the other, the one with I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU, JEFF, DARN THAT DREAM.
In this accent on the delicate beat Jamal is as different from his contemporaries as a Mozart trio is from Beethoven’s ninth symphony. In introducing the light lyric, one might almost say the “pastoral” tone, into the new jazz Jamal has found a style as original as any of his contemporaries. The predominance of the high register, played softly but with great rhythm, and in simple swing patterns without a great deal of chording and fireworks, is probably the leading formal aspect of his style. His combo, whose most noticeable feature is a guitar doubling for a high-pitched bongo effect, also has a distiner style. This bongo effect is very successful. At its best, it is like listening to a bubbling brook on a jazz kick.
In addition to the new style there is a great mood in Jamal. His contemporaries are spectacular and complicated in comparison to the quiet joy, the fairylike simplicity and ease of this young pianist. In his tremulous lyrics we find something of a friendly child, something natural and clear. This music, however, is not cheaply relaxing. Its simple beauty is born of a tender sadness, the wonderment of a lost child in short, this music has that rarest form of vibrancy and joy, the kind that knows of tragedy.
End Review:
Ahmad Jamals “Chamber Music For The New Jazz” remains one of the most technically brillant works recorded. And to think he was 25 when he recorded this, just boggles the mind. This album has that desert island status about it, just to good to leave behind.
A solid find for a serious jazz library. If this is not cataloged in your library here is that rare opportunity to acquire.
By  Edward Abbott.
Well, if you are not a jazz fan, stop reading…For you jazz lovers, this album is a taste of the creation of the modern trio. Although back then trio’s were not always b/d/p, this is a classic trio. Ahmad has inspired monsters such as Jarrett and Mehldau, with his classic, smooth playing. This album sounds really old, but the classics never get old to me…
By  Juno Hopsker.
Ahmad Jamal- Piano
Israel Crosby- Bass
Ray Crawford- Guitar
01. New Rhumba 4:39
02. A Foggy Day 4:23
03. All Of You 3:15
04. It Ain’t Necessarily So 3:00
05. I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed 3:26
06. I Get A Kick Out Of You 4:50
07. Jeff 4:52
08. Darn That Dream 3:10
09. Spring Is Here 4:01

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