JJ 07/63: Ahmad Jamal – At The Blackhawk

Sixty years ago, Sinclair Traill found the renowned pianist almost invigorating, like Erroll Garner with the sinews drawn. First published in Jazz Journal July 1963


Jamal has a beautiful light touch, delicate and tuneful. His playing is polished and rhythmic, and in a sparse kind of fashion he swings quite pleasant­ly. His cascades of notes hammered out in the treble are sometimes almost invigorating, but he never quite has enough personality coming through to hold the attention entirely.

He gets strong support from the late Israel Crosby, a really great bassist, and Fournier, whose brush work is very admirable. As a trio the group attain a splendid coherence on the fascinating “Night Mist Blues”, a tune that could well become a jazz standard.

There is much more fervour here than Jamal usually portrays, and indeed some good jazz piano playing – yet even at his very best he only sounds to me like Erroll Garner with the sinews drawn.

I’ll Take Romance; My Funny Valentine; Like Someone In Love; Falling In Love With Love; The Best Thing For You (18 min) – April, In Paris; The Second Time Around; We Live In Two Different Worlds; Night Mist Blues (20 min)
Ahmad Jamal (p); Israel Crosby (bs); Vernell Fournier (d). Blackhawk, San Francisco, 1962.
(Pye NJL 48 12inLP 30s. 7d.)