Jelly Home

all the articles, back to 1995

what’s Jelly got to do with it?

The Jelly Jar
factoids, jokes & links

search / tips


Buy now at

Ahmad Jamal
The Essence Part 1,  Verve CD 314 529 327-2, 1995 (55:16)

 Essential Ahmad Jamal

From the very first notes plunking his Steinway on the opening track, you can hear Ahmad Jamal is out to make a statement with this recording. His original composition "Flight" especially reflects his uniquely rhythmic, percussive, and abrupt style of piano playing. Later, on the title track with George Coleman’s fine tenor sax work, it’s clear that this is an album for all Jamal fans to savor.

Jamal’s technique is probably more similar to Erroll Garner’s than anyone else, and he has escaped the trappings (i.e., Bill Evans-isms) of many modern jazz pianists. He’s a musician who resists becoming more entertainer than artist, yet he almost always sounds best live.

 The Essence contains a strong mix of original compositions as well as standard ballads such as "Lover Man" and "Autumn Leaves." The master pianist stretches keyboard perimeters and provides his side men with plenty of elbow room for their own contributions. There is some especially nice percussion throughout.

And, there is an "Essence, Part 2" album available now, which I have not heard. I’ll bet it’s worth a listen, though.– Mark Craemer


Ahmad Jamal, piano; James Cammack, bass; Jamil Nasser, bass on tracks 3 & 6; Idris Muhammad, drums; Manolo Badrena, percussion; George Coleman, tenor saxophone on tracks 3 & 6.


Recorded on October 30-31, 1994 at Studio Marcadet, Paris, France, and on February 6-7, 1995 at Clinton Studio in New York City. Produced by Jean-Francois Deiber for Birdology Records.

song titles

Flight • Toulouse • The Essence • Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) • Catalina • Autumn Leaves • Street of Dreams • Bahia

of related interest

Ahmad Jamal

 Ahmad’s Blues, Chess CD GRP 18032, 1958

 Freeflight, Impulse! CD GRP 1332, 1971

 Chicago Revisted, Telarc CD 83327, 1992

 Big Byrd–The Essence, Part 2, Verve CD 314 533 477-2, 1997

Copyright © 1998 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.