Ahmad Jamal

After Fajr

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Ahmad Jamal leads his long-running trio with electric bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad for these 2004 studio sessions. Mixing it up with four standards and five originals, the trio sounds as if they have just completed a several-week tour playing these numbers every night. Jamal begins "I'm Old Fashioned" in a fairly straight-ahead fashion, taking only a few sudden detours near the end of the performance. The old chestnut "Yours Is My Heart Alone" was a favorite of Oscar Peterson during the '60s, yet Jamal finds his own path in this lyrical gem by Franz Lehár. "My Heart Stood Still" is one of the most beloved ballads penned by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, though the pianist has a bit of fun with it by speeding up the tempo at times (evidently racing, rather than stilling one's heart, though the symbolism is the same for love). Jamal's originals are also delightful. "Swahililand" is full of drama with an infectious undercurrent. His quirky "Topsy Turvy" takes shape slowly with many sudden twists.

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