It comes as little surprise that Miles Davis was a great admirer of Ahmad Jamal. The critically acclaimed jazz innovator, known for his understated playing and elegant arrangements has been referred to as “the zen master of piano”. It is rumored that his pianos sometimes needed to be tuned between sets due to the percussive nature of his playing. On The Awakening, perhaps his most adventurous record, Jamal’s evolved and elegant sound takes center stage with his fast richly melodic chops in remarkable variation. Backed by the exquisite timing of bassist Jamil Nasser and the precision of Frank Gant’s drumming, Jamal was liberated by the reliability of this trio setup. The record jumps and sparkles with superb musicianship throughout, and it is no wonder why it become known as a perennially essential masterpiece. It is also worth acknowledging that The Awakening has left an indelible mark in hip hop culture after having been sampled by such notable artists as J Dilla, DJ Premiere, and Shades of Brooklyn.
– Michael Friedman
Recommended – Full listen
Tags: Essential Listening / Instrumental / Jazz / Samples