Search - Ahmad Jamal :: Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings

Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings
Ahmad Jamal
Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Ahmad Jamal
Title: Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Epic/Legacy
Original Release Date: 1/1/2005
Re-Release Date: 8/16/2005
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Cool Jazz, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 827969358023, 5099752023721, 886975693528

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CD Reviews

80 minute limit
M. Feldman | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Together, the sessions of the October 1951 and October 1955 produced 22 songs and over 80 minutes of sensational music. Something had to give, however; the reissued CD was limited to only 80 minutes. So, the solution was to cut one track from the CD (SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE) and make the 80-minute limit. It's not the end of the world, but I agree with Stanley Crouch that SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE was one of the two "most interesting" pieces by the group, the other being its cover of Morton Gould's PAVANNE (which very cover Crouch observes provided the form for Miles Davis's SO WHAT and the melody for John Coltrane's IMPRESSIONS).

How does one obtain all 22 cuts? There are two ways that come to mind. One, buy this CD and Jamal's POINCIANA (which contains 12 of the sessions' 22 songs, including ...TENTH AVENUE, on the SONY/CBS "Portrait" label). Two, the 22 songs are on two CDs were issued separately on the "Jazzotheque" series of the SONY/CBS Jazz Piano Collection catalogue in Europe."
RBSProds | Deep in the heart of Texas | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Five Stars? This CD deserves SIX!! Highly influential recording! Not only is this one of the GREAT JAZZ TRIOS in history, but it documents an early vestige of the groundbreaking hit "Poinciana" and why no less than Miles Davis himself was mesmerized and influenced enough to record some of the same Jamal songs and, indeed, to imitate the Jamal solo style at times with his trumpet. No? Listen to "Autumn Leaves" here and then go to Cannonball's album "Something Else" and listen to that approximation version, with Hank Jones and Miles Davis both in the role of Mr Jamal. Or listen to the Davis quintet with Red Garland in the role of Mr Jamal. Or listen to "Love For Sale", "Surrey With the Fringe On Top", "Billy Boy", or many others. And Davis readily admitted Jamal's heavy influence on his style, arrangements, and song selection. Even when Miles got away from Jamal-type pianists with Wynton Kelley, Bill Evans, and Herbie Hancock, he was still using the Jamal "pedal points", but they were now calling them "modes" to enable extended solos. But enough with the historical roots and influences, let's examine this tremendous CD.

The Okeh label sessions go back to 1951 but suffer no time lag, they are as current as anything piayed today in modern jazz. Ahmad Jamal was READY when he made his appearance as a performing artist. And super guitarist Ray Crawford is a true star in solos, comping, and imitating a wild bongo with his pizzacato plucking, spinning dazzling lines over and over. Tracks 1 to 4 (from "Surrey...." to "Gal in Calico") are terrific solo performances. "Ari and Ukthay" is fantastic but I wonder how many people skipped that track based on the title alone. The 1955 EPIC label sessions continue the excellent performances and some amazing trio interplay between Jamal, Crawford, and his really disciplined bassists, Israel Crosby and Eddie Calhoun (soon to join Errol Garner in his amazing trios). Pieces D'Resistance, the best of the best, include the endless vamp of "Squeeze Me"; the nonpariel Jamal ballad style shown in "Crazy He Calls Me"; the forward looking "Poinciana"; Miles Davis favorites "Love For Sale" and "Autumn Leaves"; "Pavanne", the amazing interplay of "Rica Pulca", "The Donkey Serenade" and "Perfidia" among many other DIAMOND PERFORMANCES.

"Love For Sale" (track 8) deserves special consideration. It is simply one of the finest trio performances in Jazz History and one of the premier piano solos of this song ever. Jamal deconstructs and re-constructs this song in every way imaginable, all over a driving drumless latin beat that Jamal and Crawford must sustain while driving the song forward. From gentle nuance to two handed cresendos, in over 8 minutes, Jamal covers the piano from end to end, getting into the extreme notes on either end of the piano that most pianists avoid, and making it an AWESOME experience of shifting dynamics. And Ray Crawford plays a killer solo as well. Jamal's 'comping' is exceptional. One of Jazz' great swinging performances. Note how Jamal repeats one note an amazing 18 TIMES in a row after Crawford's solo, a technique that Miles later used to great effect, and it fits perfectly.

I waited decades for the Epic Lable sessions to come back and the wait was worth it. The 24-bit Digital Remastering is outstanding. Now if someone could only find the Chess/ARGO sessions that include the LP "COUNT'EM 88" with "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year", "Volga Boatman", and the superb ballad "Maryam" (sp). And also release the outstanding "HEAT WAVE" recording. These two would make my updated recording collection virtually complete. If you PLEASE!

BTW, this CD will permanently reside in my 5 CD disk rotation forever, never to leave the player again. Thanks, Ahmad.

(NOTE: There were three great piano, guitar, bass trios (and one variation) in the form of Nat Cole, Oscar Moore, Johnny Miller; Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis; and the Jamal trio. (The variation would be xylo/vibraharpist Red Norvo, Tal Farlow, and uber-bassist Charles Mingus.) Two of the three, Peterson and Jamal, despite their 'guitar trio' greatness, would become the standard piano, bass, drum unit within a short time in the late 50's to early 60's. Maybe the financial success of Errol Garner's 'trio with drums' was a partial reason. Nat Cole would abandon the trio early on and go into the recording studio to pump out some of history's greatest pop songs, coming back only for cameo appearances within that format. And Mingus would go on to become..Mingus, a legend. But while it lasted, these piano/vibe, guitar, bass trios were fabulous and will never be forgotten.)"
Great Tribute to a High Master
Tad Ulrich | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"High Master? Not my words, but those of Randy Weston in his commentary on Ahmad Jamal published in this cd. Weston himself is a considerable composer and pianist. But, indeed, I also concur with Weston's assessment. Jamal is easily in my top five, hell top three, favorite pianists and this cd gives ample reasons why.

This cd represents all the recordings of Ahmad Jamal, Israel Crosby, Eddie Calhoun and Ray crawford originally released on Epic Records between 1951 and 1955. This is a top quality production from Legacy recordings who produced the POINCIANA cd which had about half the Epic tunes included here. There are liner notes by Nat Hentoff as well as Randy Weston. Also there are nice photos of a young Jamal as well as of the aforementioned musicians (nice to see pics of them). The cd label is also a reproduction of the old yellow Epic LP label.

This cd is absolutely essential for Jamal fans and comes highly recommended to anyone else interested in leading edge jazz piano. There is simply no one else like him. Jamal and crew are very easy and interesting to listen too. And Jamal one of the premiere influences in jazz history. He never strays far from the mid range of emotional expression but where he excells is his inventiveness, superb sense of time, swing and marvelous group interplay. And Crosby, Calhoun and Crawford are the type of truly outstanding musicians to make this interplay possible.

Every tune is outstanding and choosing a favorite is really hard. There is everything from up tempo romps like SURRY and BILLY BOY to Rhumbas like RICO PULPA and ballads OLD DEVIL MOON but I've always loved IT'S EASY TO REMEMBER.

The price is definitely right, so you've no excuse not to pick up a copy of this legendary music. I can guarantee you will be glad you did.