Ahmad Jamal, pianist, composer, July 2, 1930-April 18, 2023
With Israel Crosby (1919-1962, bass), Vernel Fournier (1928-2000, drums), live (TV show), 1959
“Darn That Dream” (J. Van Heusen, E. DeLange)
“Ahmad’s Blues” (A. Jamal)
From the New York Times obituary (4/16/23):
Bebop pianists, following the lead of Bud Powell, became known for their virtuosic flurries of notes. Mr. Jamal chose a different path, which proved equally influential.
The critic Stanley Crouch wrote that bebop’s founding father, Charlie Parker, was the only musician “more important to the development of fresh form in jazz than Ahmad Jamal.”
In his early years, Mr. Jamal listened not just to jazz, which he preferred to call “American classical music,” but also to classical music of the non-American variety.
“We didn’t separate the two schools,” he told The New York Times in 2001. “We studied Bach and Ellington, Mozart and Art Tatum. When you start at 3, what you hear you play. I heard all these things.”
Probably the best-known musician to cite Mr. Jamal as an influence was not a pianist but a trumpeter and bandleader: Miles Davis, who became close friends with Mr. Jamal, recorded his compositions and arrangements and would bring his sidemen to see Mr. Jamal perform. He once said, “All my inspiration comes from Ahmad Jamal.”