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Ahmad Jamal

Critic Stanley Crouch cites AHMAD JAMAL’s impact on the fresh form in jazz as an outstanding conceptionalist. Crouch consider’s Mr. Jamal’s distinctive style as having had an influence on the same level as “Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Theolonius Monk, Horace Silver and John Lewis, all thinkers whose wrestling with form and content influenced the shape and texture of the music, and whose ensembles were models of their music visions.”

Considering his trio “an orchestra”, Mr. Jamal not only achieves a unified sound, but subtly inserts independent roles for the bass and drums. The hallmarks of Mr. Jamal’s style are rhythmic innovations, colorful harmonic perceptions, especially left hand harmonic and melodic figures, plus parallel and contrary motion lines in and out of chordal substitutions and alterations and pedalpoint ostinato interludes in tasteful dynamics. He also incorporates a unique sense of space in his music, and his musical concepts are exciting without being loud in volume. Augmented by a selection of unusual standards and his own compositions, Mr. Jamal impressed and influenced, among others, trumpeter Miles Davis. Like Louis Armstrong, Mr. Jamal is an exemplary ensemble player — listening while playing and responding, thus inspiring his musicians to surpass themselves. Audiences delight in Mr. Jamal’s total command of the keyboard, his charasmatic swing and daringly inventive solos that always tell a story.

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