Ahmad Jamal sounds like the luckiest man in the world on Saturday Morning. At 83, the pianist is able to express with magisterial power all the rhythms in his heart and moods in his soul. Perhaps it’s karmic payback for how underrated Jamal has been over these many decades.
Saturday Morning is a companion piece to Jamal’s Blue Moon from 2011. The latter disc was recorded mostly in New York and dominated by movie and show tunes, whereas the new record was made in France and is primarily composed of Jamal originals. But Jamal’s unique and impeccable sense of time is a constant of both, enabled by drummer Herlin Riley and bassist Reginald Veal (Wynton Marsalis’ rhythm section in the mid-’90s) and ex-Weather Report percussionist Manolo Badrena.