Friday, December 4, 2009

Ahmad JAMAL - Tranquility 1968

Ahmad JAMAL - Tranquility 1968


An obscure late 60s set of tracks that Jamal cut in his pre-Impulse years -- working here with Jamil Sulieman on bass and Frank Gant on drums -- and hitting more of that open-ended approach that would come into his work in the 70s. About half the tracks are still in the shorter, straighter trio mode -- but the other half are hipper and longer. Titles include "Free Again", "Tranquility", "Manhattan Reflections", and "Illusions Opticas". (Original ABC pressing -- harder to get than the Impulse one. Vinyl has numerous marks, but plays well inspite of them. Inner label has marker.)
From Dusty Groove.
This hard to find recording is of value if only to hear Jamal's interpretation of two Burt Bacharach/Hal David gems from the '60s, "I Say a Little Prayer" and "The Look of Love." Since the early '50's, Jamal has managed to generate commercial appeal within the piano trio format by crafting memorable arrangements without resorting to cliches. (Jamal's trio concept paved the way for the success of Ramsey Lewis, the Three Sounds and others.) He treats the entire trio -- not just the piano -- as his instrument and has mastered the use of space and dynamic variation in shaping his distinctive group sound. Jamal has a keen sense of formal structure; his concise renderings of standards and pop tunes always offer a fresh take on the familiar -- deconstructing and reconstructing melodic, harmonic and rhythmic themes. This collection is no exception. Check out the bass ostinato which frames Mercer & Mandel's "Emily," or the superimposed rhythms of "Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You." Jamal, himself a major innovator in modern jazz (his significant influence on Miles Davis has been widely noted) is able to continually find inspiration in the developments of other jazz artists. Listen to the modal vamps on his original compositions "Manhattan Reflections" and "Tranquility," inspired by McCoy Tyner's work. Or the reference to Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage in "When I Look in Your Eyes." Though he remains open to new trends in jazz, Jamal's music always retains its essential uniqueness. While not to be ranked amongst his greatest works, Tranquility is a very fine recording and any opportunity to hear this master should not be missed. Along with bassist Jamil Nasser and drummer Frank Gant, Ahmad Jamal makes beautiful and accessible trio music conceived with great depth and clarity. ~ Lee Bloom, All Music Guide
Jamil Sulieman- Bass
Frank Gant- Drums
Ahmad Jamal- Piano
A1. I Say A Little Prayer 2:25 
A2. The Look Of Love 2:48 
A3. When I Look In Your Eyes 4:18
A4. Illusions Opticas 2:25
A5. Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You 2:42 
A6. Emily 3:41 

B1   Tranquility 8:53
B2   Free Again 4:45
B3   Manhattan Reflections 6:25

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