Ahmad Jamal

Live at Blues Alley Blues

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Ahmad Jamal is heard during a well-recorded 1991 live set at Blues Alley. He's accompanied by electric bassist James Cammack and drummer David Bowler, while percussionist Selden Newton is added on selected tracks. Starting with a furious take of "Effendi," Jamal detours into two pieces from Miles Davis' repertoire, "So What" and "Milestones," while keeping the tension at a high level. Bill Evans' lovely ballad "Your Story" was still not widely known at the time Jamal recorded it, as it had mostly appeared on a few bootlegs. His interpretation is a little too rushed in places, though the overall feeling is enjoyable. The one original of the date is the pianist's "The Quest for Light," a funky strutting work. Sometimes Jamal's tendency to insert quotes becomes a bit distracting, such as his sudden ill-fitting insertion of a lick from Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" into Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love." He romps through the Latin-flavored "Serenata" with ease. Jamal has always been a ballad master and his medley of "You're My Everything" and "A Certain Smile" reinforces that claim. Curtis Mayfield's "Pusher Man" adds a more poppish touch to the set, but it works. Jamal wraps the evening up with a treatment of "Dreamsville" that is both lush and tense. Although it is unclear what the release date is of this CD, it is a limited edition of just 2,500 copies .