Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Electric Jamal history that accompanied the "Stepping Out With A Dream" post some months back prompted me first to search out Ahmad Jamal's "Intervals", and also to ask around for this 1978 album.
Hanimex 3000 (check his blog) has come forward with his own vinyl rip and kindly dropped it into the "Intervals" comments for the ongoing Jamal discography. Merci bien Hanimex! Please see the text file in the download for more info about his blog, radio show and other things.
Well, this one should send some Jamal purists screaming for the hills. Scott Yanow from AMG seemingly collapsed in a fit of indignation after his paragraph review of "Intervals" and didn't bother with this one. Yanow probably would have had a heart attack if he'd listened to my favourite track here, a version of Steely Dan's "Black Cow" on which Jamal only plays (gasp) clavinet. It's cute, soulful and has a girl vocal chorus (including Eloise Laws).
Like "Intervals" which followed it the next year, "One" is an eclectic mix of styles and personnel that did not bode well for sales. Nevertheless, some great tracks here, and worth checking out. I'm a bit worried that this is the second album in a month on this blog with a version of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are", but I'll get over it and so will you. But is E-Mile up to the challenge of a compilation??
There are no less than three producers here : Richard Evans, who helmed Jamal's initial 20th Century 'electric' releases, such as "Ahmad Jamal '73" and "Jamalca"; 'Partridge Family' arranger/keyboardist Mike Melvoin; and finally Sigidi, a Mizell Brothers compatriot/conductor on albums like Donald Byrd's "Stepping Into Tomorrow", Bobbi Humphrey's "Fancy Dancer" and Johnny Hammond's "Gears" ... but best known later for his production of the S.O.S. Band.
These people are all big production arrangers, and so big productions you get. Melvoin is on synths, and there's another rhodes player on "Black Cow". Half the tracks feature string and horn arrangements, and there's percussionists galore, including the ubiquitous Paulinho Da Costa, Rufus drummer Andre Fisher, fellow Partridge Family session-star Hal Blaine, and even Bill Summers from the Headhunters (who featured on the Hancock bootleg I posted on the weekend).
On these busier tracks - "One", "Black Cow", "Jet" - Jamal seems sometimes content to sit back and pound away on the acoustic almost as part of the percussion section, as if in training for an arm wrestle with McCoy Tyner - breaking out with his trademark flourishes, but remaining part of a rhythmic interface even in his solo spots. Check the way he integrates his piano into the flute-driven track "One" in the preview at the top of the post.
He gets more harmonic space in the 'band' numbers like "Dynamo" and "Festival", built around his then-core live group of Calvin Keys, John Heard and Kenneth Nash, though there's still at least two percussionists per track. Jamal's own composition "Sumayah" is the only solo piano spot here.
So anyway, take your big black cow and get out of here, and thank Hanimex 3000 in the comments puh-leez.
1. 'One (Ahmad)' - (Sigidi - Welton Gite)
2. 'Just The Way You Are' - (Joel)
3. 'Jet' - (Benjamin, Revel, Weiss)
4. 'Black Cow' - (Becker-Fagen)
5. 'Dynamo' - (Jamal)
6. 'Sumayah' - (Jamal)
7. 'Festival' - (Jamal)
David Crawford (flute & alto flute), Mike Melvoin (polymoog & minimoog), Ahmad Jamal (piano), John Rowin (guitar), Chuck Rainey (bass), Roger Barthelemy (drums), Bill Summers (bongos & percussion)
Conducted and arranged by Sigidi
Just the Way You Are
Mike Melvoin (polymoog synthesizer), Ahmad Jamal (piano), John Rowin & Mario Henderson (guitar), John Heard (bass), Scotty Edwards (electric bass), Andre Fisher (drums), Shondo Rondo Akeim (congas), Geoff Howe (percussion).
Ahmad Jamal (piano), John Rowin & Mario Henderson (electric guitar), Scotty Edwards (bass), Andre Fisher (drums), Shondo Rondo Akeim (congas), Paulinho DaCosta (percussion)
Horn section arranged and conducted by Mike Melvoin Rhythm section arranged by Richard Evans and directed by Sigidi.
Ahmad Jamal (clavinet), John Rowin (guitar), Scotty Edwards (bass), Steve Bowling (Fender Rhodes), Roger Barthelemy (drums), Bill Summers (conga), Hal Blaine (percussion), Eloise Laws, Stephanie Spruill, Virginia Ayers (vocals)
Conducted and arranged by SigidiHorns arranged and conducted by Mike Melvoin.
Ahmad Jamal (piano), Calvin Keys (guitar), John Heard (bass), Eddie Marshall (drums), Kenny Nash (congas), Hal Blaine (percussion).
Ahmad Jamal (solo piano)
Ahmad Jamal (piano), Calvin Keys (guitar), John Heard (bass), Eddie Marshall (drums), Kenny Nash (congas), Paulino DaCosta (percussion).
20th Century Fox Records
catalogue # M 555
Recorded at : Hollywood, Filmways / Heider Recordings
Recording dates : May, June & July 1978
AHMAD JAMAL BLOG DISCOGRAPHY
Vinyl rip by Hanimex 3000.
Some credits from Jean Princes' Ahmad Jamal discography.
Other blogs linked in this post are : Hanimex 3000, Orgy In Rhythm, E-Mile Says Songs Do the Matter, My Jazz World, Cosmic Music, Oufar Khan and Blak's Lair.
Please thank these fine folks if you visit their blogs and download their albums.