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At the Pershing: But Not for Me Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 17, 1990
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. But Not For Me
  2. Surrey With The Fringe On Top
  3. Moonlight In Vermont
  4. (Put Another Nickel In) Music, Music, Music
  5. No Greater Love
  6. Poinciana
  7. Woody 'N You
  8. What's New


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 17, 1990)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Mca
  • ASIN: B000002O8V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,116 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Fitzgerald once wrote that "in the dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning." Sadly, he never got to experience the rapture I felt as a 22-year old (back in the days when turntables were still powered by dinosaurs, Virginia) listening while, night after night beyond counting, the all-night DJ invariably slipped on Jamal's "Poinciana" as recorded live at Chicago's Pershing at precisely three o'clock.
Hypnotic, seductive, strangely enervating in the way Jamal bounced off of Fournier's tom-toms (which were especially tuned to this song), wound his riffs around Crosby's bassline and punched his way off the counterpoint of the live audience's response, "Poinciana" served, for me, as a wake-up call, a siren song, and, most importantly, as an introduction to an individual who is today one of the late 20th century's most undervalued jazz influences.
Modern critics tend to dismiss Ahmad Jamal's work as "cocktail music" (whatever that term truly means). Miles Davis, on the other hand (and not a man given to tossing off superlatives lightly), termed Jamal one of his "major influences" (to such an extent that he reportedly tried to persuade his then-pianist, Red Garland, to "play like this cat").
So . . . who you gonna believe?
Believe your own ears. You can't go wrong. Even if you never get beyond the mesmerizing voyage of "Poinciana" (a tune which Jamal had previously recorded and would re-record several more times, though never to such effect as here), you're ahead of the game; BUT, take my word for it, you'll be missing a whole world of wonder if you dismiss the rest of this album.
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Format: Audio CD
I first bought the vinyl in the early 60's and still have it but it is awfully worn. Bought the CD recently. I never tire of listening to Jamal. He came to San Antonio twice in recent years and on both occasions he played "Poinciana" and "But Nor For Me." Incidentally, according to Jamal, "But Not For Me" is his most requested tune. I can't imagine anyone listening to this mellow sound and not instantly liking it. I've liked it for 42 years.
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Format: Audio CD
Say all you want about Ahmad's use of silence and "space," his defining quality is, above all, discipline. Whereas the conventional approach is to play the head in 2/4 after which the rhythm section is unleashed in 4/4 while the soloist rips through a chord sequence, Ahmad is reluctant to leave either the song or the two-beat feel of the opening chorus. Instead, he comes back to the original melody again and again, converting it into a "riff" with slight alterations for every subsequent chorus. And when he does release the rhythm section or improvise for a whole chorus over a walking bass line, the effect is explosive.

Numerous musicians have used the device of riff-like repetition (listen to Paul Gonsalves' celebrated solo on "Ellington at Newport"), but few do so with as much respect for the original melody and close attention to the finest details of construction and contouring as Jamal. For him a song is not merely a chord sequence for improvisation but a tone poem or even miniature symphony awaiting the artist's realization through imaginative revisioning. And his "touch" is inimitable, as pianists who have copied his every chorus with less success (listen to Michel Camilo's attempt to play Ahmad's version of "Poinciana") have discovered.

In short, Ahmad is that enviable and rare oxymoron, the "popular" artist. He serves up all the melody a jazz-challenged listener could ask for while satisfying the artistic demands of the fastidious jazz-piano aficioniano. If the guy has never regained the popularity he enjoyed with "But Not for Me," the fault is not his but that of a public that's lost touch with the supreme melodies that comprise the American Songbook.
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Format: Audio CD
If you have a collection of jazz from the '50's and 60's, and in the piano category you already have Monk, Brubeck, Shearing, Peterson, Evans and maybe Horace Silver, then you are ready for Jamal. If he rates in the top ten of that era on his instrument, he is right behind the guys I mentioned and maybe one or two I failed to rank. I owned this on vinyl when I was in high school, and it pleased me then, and pleases me now. Along with Errol Garner's "Concert by the Sea" released around the same time, this album made me like piano jazz and be willing to explore the efforts of other jazz greats. Jamal's style and touch is unique, and he won't please all listeners equally. Listen to the samples offered here before you buy this one, but keep in mind the best number on the disc is not available to be sampled...the huge hit (by jazz standards of the day) "Poinciana." If you like the samples you CAN hear, you'll enjoy the whole offering for sure. If you like piano jazz and you have items by those who are more well-known than Ahmad, give him a chance, too. This one is nice to have in the background when you are sitting at a computer or doing the bills.
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