Search Manic Mark's Blog

Monday, December 3, 2018

Count 'Em 88 - Ahmad Jamal

Count 'Em 88
Ahmad Jamal Trio
Ahmad Jamal - Piano
Israel Crosby - Bass
Walter Perkins - Drums
Cover Photography - Design: Don Bronstein
Supervision: Phil Chess
Recording Engineer: Bernie Clapper
Date Recorded: November 4, 1956
Agro LP 610
Chess Producing, Corp. - Chicago, Illinois 

Available form online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the jacket art and notes.

From the back cover: For some years now, Chicago has been fortunate enough to be the home base for the operations of pianist Ahmad Jamal.

A succession of engagements at various of the Windy City's spas, interrupted only occasionally by dates elsewhere such as New York's Embers, has made Ahmad one of the most celebrated of that city's many talented jazzmen.

A slim, guileless-looking, fastidiously dressed gentlemen whose boyish look belies his 26 years. Ahmad first burst into prominence when Down Beat's Pat Harris reported him as a new tind when he worked the Blue Note in 1950, heading a group called the Three Strings.

Previous to that he had left his native Pittsburgh to work with the George Hudson band out of St. Louis, which also contained saxist Ernie Wilkins, now better known for the enormous amount of composing and arranging he does for bands and record dates.

Ahmad returned to Pittsburgh to join a group called the Four Strings, which became a forerunner to the Three Strings which did so well at the Blue Note and other Chicago spots

It was in the spring of 1952, when he played the Embers, that noted critic John Hammond hailed the Jamal trio as "prodigious" and "Unbelievably subtle."

Jamal is indeed subtle, and he is dart-quick in facility, with a firm-yet-delicate touch that enable him to skim through figures that is charted on graph paper would look like the ups and downs in the career of Yellow Kid Weil.

It is obvious at first hearing that Ahmad approaches a piano as a skilled fisherman might a mile-long lake teeming with fish. He has a lot of room to get a lot out of it, and he casts about with sure skill, utilizing the entire area to achieve his results.

This is a long way to go about saying that Jamal is a two-handed pianist, a species sometimes difficult to find. It is demonstrated neatly here, however, as is his good taste and droll sense of humor. You might be as happy as I am that he chose to include I Just Can't See For Looking', a Nat Cole vocal effort a decade ago.

Easy To Remember is a good example of the unit feel the trio achieves, and their romping qualities come out on Beat Out One.

Ahmad is offered the sturdy support here of bassist Israel Crosby, for years a well-known figure in jazz, and drummer Walter Perkins, whose credits include work with Ben Webster. He frequently was the drummer for Jute Hipp when he was stationed in Germany a couple of years ago.

They provide friendly atmosphere for Jamal, who is content that this is the best set of sides  he has yet recorded.

I will have to agree with him.

Jack Tracy - Editor, Down Beat Magazine.

Volga Boatman
Green Dolphin Street
How About You
I Just Can't See For Lookin'
Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
Beat Out One
Easy To Remember
Jim Love Sue

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy! Thanks for leaving your thoughts!