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JazzTimes 10: All-Time Great Piano Trio Albums

The power of three is on full display in these groups

Ahmad Jamal Trio: Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (Verve, 1998)
This two-disc set is a selected compilation of what was originally five different live albums, any one of which we could have picked instead. If you’re just looking for a basic intro to Jamal’s art, though, this will do splendidly. Abetted by what was arguably his greatest rhythm section—bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier—Jamal experiments with space and dynamics in a manner that was little short of revolutionary in the late ’50s. “Poinciana” is probably the best-known track, but everything’s worth hearing. And if you want to go deeper, those five original albums are At the Pershing, At the Pershing Vol. 2, The Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal, Ahmad Jamal’s Alhambra, and At the Blackhawk.

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Originally Published
Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.