REFLECTION: I’ve been thinking about the musical genius of pianist Ahmad Jamal lately, have you listened to any of his music recently?


In the late 80s, my sister bought me a pair of tickets for my birthday to see pianist Ahmad Jamal at a local college. As a result, I was pleasantly in awe with anticipation of the event because this was the first time seeing him perform live. The hour and a half set was elevated by his eloquence yet graciousness, soulful style, and powerful interplay provided stoked a roar of applause from the audience who was hungry for more. Till this day the mere thought of this concert is truly mesmerizing.

Today’s album review is fitting, why? Because “LIVE AT THE MONTREAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 1985” captures the essence of the live set I witnessed that cold night nestled in the foothills of the mountain terrain. Recorded and released on Atlantic Records, this gem incorporates eight palpable compositions three originals, and five masterpieces all worth the price of admission. To bring vitality to this moment, Mr. Jamal summons A-list players to join him in Montreal, bassist James Cammack, drummer Herlin Riley with percussionist Seldon Newton as a quartet these players brought the energy and superseded expectation.

As I revisited this tenacious jewel, I’m reminded of Jamal’s unique prowess that’s fluent while anchored to his impressive agility defines his voice as potent, unrivaled, and unmistakably influential on every level. The revered interplay showcased throughout this set demonstrates the importance of the musician’s skill to communicate as they exchange thought-provoking ideas with one another as they excel in their performance. ~Reviewed by Rob Young

You can listen to this amazing performance below

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