Ahmad Jamal


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Pianist Ahmad Jamal's long string of recordings for the Argo and Cadet labels in the 1960s are all pretty much worth acquiring. This lesser-known LP is a bit unusual in that Jamal's Trio (which also includes bassist Jamil Nasser and drummer Vernel Fournier) is joined by a 15-piece string section on four of the nine selections. Unfortunately, Joe Kennedy's arrangements are not too inspiring, and the strings weigh down the music on the four ballads. However, Jamal plays quite well throughout the set, and his trio renditions of McCoy Tyner's "Effendi" and "Invitation" (the latter uses a rhythmic riff reminiscent of the pianist's hit version of "Poinciana") are highlights. Decent music, but not quite essential.

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