Recorded at Jazz in Marciac, one of the music’s signal European venues, pianist-composer Ahmad Jamal’s latest live offering, a CD/DVD package, is an effervescent feast. Jamal may be 85, but this set’s energy and creative range suggest that his ability to bend time to his will extends far beyond the piano.
Joined by bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and percussionist Manolo Badrena, Jamal offers a program, consisting mostly of original compositions, that exudes fluency and verve. “Sunday Afternoon” provides one of Jamal’s catchiest hooks and a strutting introductory solo from Veal. “Dynamo” pits the pianist in a shimmering, lightning-fast race with Riley and Badrena; Jamal deploys pounding block chords and glittery arpeggios while the drummer works every inch of the skins to create an urgent, unfaltering tempo.