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 Colemans fine tenor sax work, its clear that this is an
album for all Jamal fans to savor.
Jamals technique is probably more similar to Erroll Garners than
anyone else, and he has escaped the trappings (i.e., Bill Evans-isms) of many
modern jazz pianists. Hes 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. Ill bet its worth a listen, though. Mark
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.
Flight Toulouse The Essence Lover Man (Oh,
Where Can You Be?) Catalina Autumn Leaves Street
of Dreams Bahia
of related interest
Ahmads Blues, Chess CD GRP 18032, 1958
Freeflight, Impulse! CD GRP 1332, 1971
Chicago Revisted, Telarc CD 83327, 1992
Big ByrdThe Essence, Part 2, Verve CD 314 533 477-2, 1997