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Poinciana Revisited/Freeflight
     

Poinciana Revisited/Freeflight

by Ahmad Jamal
 
This collection is evidence that there really are bargains on the compact disc market. Both albums presented here, Ahmad Jamal at the Top: Poinciana Revisited and Freeflight, offer excellent portraits of the great pianist in transition at the end of the '60s and beginning of the '70s. Both feature Jamal's great rhythm section of

Overview

This collection is evidence that there really are bargains on the compact disc market. Both albums presented here, Ahmad Jamal at the Top: Poinciana Revisited and Freeflight, offer excellent portraits of the great pianist in transition at the end of the '60s and beginning of the '70s. Both feature Jamal's great rhythm section of bassist Jamil Sulieman Nasser and drummer Frank Grant. The first date was recorded in in 1969 at the Top of the Village Gate in New York City. Its reveals Jamal playing in a more driving, percussive style, though he keeps his utterly elegant chord voicings intact. Check the opening reading of Rodgers & Hart's "Have You Met Miss Jones," played as a slippery, complex, hard bop tune with some modal and Latin elements added. The version of "Poinciana" here is quicker, deeper in the rhythmic cut. The reading of Tony Hatch's "Call Me," with an Afro-Cuban rhythmic frame and a very fast tempo, reinvents the pop song. "Theme from Valley of the Dolls" begins almost impressionistically before giving way to gorgeous, slowly and precisely played balladry, in which the pianist extends every line until it bleeds into the next. The set ends with a completely re-visioned "How Insensitive," by Antonio Carlos Jobim, that employs elements of montuno and even rumba in its samba frame. Freeflight, recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1971, is just as satisfying, though Jamal plays a Fender Rhodes piano as well as his grand. Commencing with a charging rendition of McCoy Tyner's "Effendi," Jamal allows the Rhodes' slightly distorted tone to add space and texture -- creating space where there is, in fact, very little. Nasser's basslines are a sprint throughout and they lead Jamal to explore the range of the electric keyboard's harmonic possibilities. His reading of Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," played on the grand piano, highlights the more subtle elements in the composer's lyric palette and finds a second, more disguised one at the tune's heart. The dynamics in the arrangement showcase Jamal's ability to extract fully-voiced chords from minimal elements. The 11-and-a-half-minute rendition of "Poinciana" here stands in sharp contrast to the previous one because of its extended, intricate, sweet lyricism that takes its time before giving way to the midtempo Latin rhythmic figure, as his light-fingered ostinati pop against the rhythm section's skittering strut. Together, these two dates make for a fine portrait of Jamal's ability to reinvent his approach to jazz during a particularly turbulent era, without sacrificing his personality.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2011
Label:
Impulse Records
UPC:
0600753347300
catalogNumber:
5334730

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ahmad Jamal   Primary Artist,Piano,Electric Piano,fender rhodes
Frank Gant   Drums
Jamil Sulieman Nasser   Bass

Technical Credits

Vinícius de Moraes   Composer
Herbie Hancock   Composer
Ahmad Jamal   Composer,Producer
André Previn   Composer
Frank Strozier   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Dory Previn   Composer
McCoy Tyner   Composer
B. Bernier   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Tony Hatch   Composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim   Composer
M. Lliso   Composer
Ed Michel   Producer
Carlos Olms   Engineer,Sound Recording
Stephan Sulke   Engineer
Ralph J. Gleason   Liner Notes
Charles Stewart   Cover Photo
Joe Lebow   Liner Design
Nat Simon   Composer
Barbara Flynn   Cover Design
Robert Flynn   Cover Design
Buddy Bernier   Composer
N. Simon   Composer
Stephen Sulke   Sound Recording

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