In rotation during lockdown, At The Pershing, by the Ahmad Jamal Trio. This 1958 live album features Ahmad Jamal on piano, Israel Crosby on bass, and Vernell Fournier on drums. Ahmad Jamal may have been the greatest influence on Miles Davis. Read more on that below from Jazz Weekly’s George W. Harris.
Still with us and occasionally performing, pianist Ahmad Jamal not only influenced Miles Davis with his concise and spacious finger work, but was a complete original, creating a style that was highly influential, but rarely imitated. These three discs find Jamal with his classic team of bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernell Fournier at their classiest, including the definitive and transcendent version of “Poinciana” with the mix of gorgeous chords and Fournier’s patented ride cymbal. There’s also the bopping “Cherokee”, fragrant “Gone With The Wind” and a take of “Billy Boy” that was redone by Red Garland on Miles Davis’ Milestones album. Jamal’s fingers dance on the scurrying “Surrey With The Fringe On Top” while his “Ahmad’s Blues” became the foundation for modal pieces “Kind of Blue” and “Impressions” by Davis and John Coltrane. The team is torrid on “Woody’n You” and lush on “Autumn Leaves”. Can you believe that a jazz trio actually created popular hits and packed the clubs? This set is proof, and it easily stands the test of time. If you don’t have these albums, get them now, NOW!