24bit/192kHz digitally remastered with original LP replica cardboard sleeve. A compelling title – as the record was recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios in New York, one of the hippest places to lay down tracks at the time – but the cover shows an image of the Playboy building in Chicago, famous from the TV show Playboy's Penthouse, Hugh Hefner's first foray into television! The actual music is equally compelling too – as the record is one of Ahmad's first non-trio sessions, and features some great larger arrangements from Joe Kennedy – backing the trio of Jamal, Vernel Fournier, and Israel Crosby with some light strings that create a wonderfully dreamy feel! Ahmad's piano glides along wonderfully in such a setting – set free a bit more than usual, and really sounding great on tracks that include "Ivy", "Comme Ci, Comme Ca", "Tangerine", "Never Never Land", "Ahmad's Blues", and "Seleritus".
Ahmad Jamal's minimalist style has served him well throughout his career, as he enjoys making frequent sudden detours in the midst of a performance, with his intuitive rhythm section able to adapt on the fly. His longtime bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad are joined by Latin percussionist Manolo Badrena for these 2007 sessions.
Miles once said, "All my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal." These recordings are the reason why. The mid fifties was a fertile time for jazz; fresh, original ensembles were taking shape all over the country. The Modern Jazz Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Jazz Messengers and the Ahmad Jamal Trio immediately come to mind. Among musicians, each group had its imitators and its creative disciples who took its innovations one step further.
This release compiles all of the originally issued recordings made by the classic Ahmad Jamal Trio with Israel Crosby and Vernel Fournier between 1958 and 1962 (Crosby died on August 11, 1962 at the age of 43). Included here are the legendary club performances taped in 1958 at the Pershing Lounge, in Chicago, as well as the subsequent sets recorded at the Spotlight, the Alhambra and the Blackhawk, plus various other sessions. This was the music that made Jamal famous. As a bonus, nine earlier versions of tunes from our set recorded by different formations of the Jamal trio.
This performance by pianist Ahmad Jamal was recorded at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France in 1981 and features such songs as "My Funny Valentine" and "Dolphin Dance."
One of the most individualistic pianists, composers, and arrangers of his generation, Ahmad Jamal's disciplined technique and minimalist style had a huge impact on trumpeter Miles Davis, and Jamal is often cited as contributing to the development of cool jazz throughout the 1950s.
This DVD highlights the advantages perfectly: there are loads of camera angles, and the cutting between long views and close ups of Jamal's facial expressions and hand gestures to the others, Heard's fingering and Israel's cymbals really adds to the live jazz experience.
A sorely underexposed figure and a major influence on Miles Davis, pianist Ahmad Jamal isn't generally ranked among the all-time giants of jazz, but he impressed fellow musicians and record buyers alike with his innovative, minimalist approach.
This collection is evidence that there really are bargains on the compact disc market. Both albums presented here, Ahmad Jamal at the Top: Poinciana Revisited and Freeflight, offer excellent portraits of the great pianist in transition at the end of the '60s and beginning of the '70s. Both feature Jamal's great rhythm section of bassist Jamil Sulieman Nasser and drummer Frank Grant. The first date was recorded in in 1969 at the Top of the Village Gate in New York City. Its reveals Jamal playing in a more driving, percussive style, though he keeps his utterly elegant chord voicings intact.