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The Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings Original recording remastered

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, August 16, 2005
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 16, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: August 16, 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Epic/Legacy
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • ASIN: B0009Y26NQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,727 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Feldman on October 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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.
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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.
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Format: Audio CD
Why after listening to jazz all this time did I wait until february of 2006 to finally try something by Ahmad Jamal? Shame on me! I've heard people speak of him for years but for whatever reason I just never got around to giving him a try. I'm very happy with this disc being my introduction. It's packed to the brim with great tunes and tasteful playing, and the price is nice.

This is a unique format in terms of instrumentation and how they play together. I really like it. Piano, electric guitar and bass. Ray Crawford on guitar has one of those clean tones, the type most non-jazz fans probably associate with "jazz guitar". Sometimes he solos as you'd expect but sometimes he plays as if he's the drummer. I tend not to be totally in love with his drummer impersonations but that's not what he's usually doing so I can deal with it. He takes some solos that surprised me in terms of how much I liked them, given that my tastes in "jazz guitar" generally revolve almost solely around the 1920s and '30s, and then leap forward to the Sonny Sharrocks, Nels Clines and Tisziji Munozs of the world.

Part of the liner-notes are old Nat Hentoff stuff about how Ahmad struck him as piano-bar jazz. On the one hand I could see that. On the other, no way. I guess one could say this is subtle, restrained jazz oftentimes. If you're in the mood for highspeed pyrotechnics ala Clifford Brown, or cataclysmic explosions ala '66 Coltrane, this is not the disc you'll be popping into the cd player, that is true. Ahmad doesn't often (at least here, the only album of his I own) play with the blues-soaked intensity of Wynton Kelly, nor does he attack the piano the way a Cecil Taylor or Marilyn Crispell might.
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