Ahmad Jamal: Live in Marciac 2014 review – warm, charming live album

(Jazz Village)

Octogenarian pianist Ahmad Jamal’s recent albums have served as fine reminders of his spirited gigs – full of familiar treatments of familiar materials, foxy rhythm-swaps with alert partners, dramatic surges impishly retreating to hushed tinkles. This CD+DVD live set from Marciac in France last August, accompanied by bassist Reginald Veal and percussionists Manolo Badrena and Herlin Riley, catches the warmth and charm the same band had displayed in London earlier in the year, and adds two tributes to just-departed fellow pianist Horace Silver. Jamal lets the groove do much of the work on Sunday Afternoon, astutely pitching zippy short runs, quotes, and elbowing chords against the elegant hubbub of his drummers; mixes lyricism and scrambled resolutions on The Gypsy; plays Silver’s Strollin’ as a glossy swinger; and makes his uptempo, hook-prefaced version of Blue Moon a high point. That sensitivity to group dynamics that Miles Davis long ago admired in Jamal is as effortlessly tuned in as ever.

Contributor

John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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