Now confirmed for a release date of 16 September in the UK, slightly earlier than first thought, Ahmad Jamal’s latest album Saturday Morning: La Buissonne Studio Sessions reunites the hugely influential pianist with the same band a “trio +” as last year’s revelatory Blue Moon, that's bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Manolo Badrena. Recorded at La Buissonne Studios in Pernes-les-Fontaines, not far from Avignon in France, the four again click in that extraordinary way of theirs, and the tunes are beautifully caught with so many intimations of greatness throughout. It’s hardly an exaggeration to imagine Veal the Israel Crosby to Riley’s Vernel Fournier, Jamal’s legendary trio partners in his Chicago pomp during the late-1950s and early-1960s. The ten-minute title track, with bird whistles from Badrena a feature within his deep bed of picture-painting Afro-latin percussion, and Jamal’s expansive touch the ultimate facilitator and inspiration, ‘Saturday Morning’ surely evokes a time and an atmosphere; while ‘One’ recalls the Isleys’ take on ‘Summer Breeze’ a tiny bit and then goes off into a lovely space. The homage to Ellington on ‘I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good’ with its quotes from ‘A Train’, and to Horace Silver on ‘Silver’ with its perfect opening rhythmic idea are celebratory but also full of considerable vigour. At 83 Jamal is a wonder, and Saturday Morning a dream of an album, an instant classic. The final track is a shorter “radio edit” of the title track and other tracks are opener ‘Back to the Future’, the ballad ‘I’ll Always Be With You’, ‘Edith’s Cake’, ‘The Line’ with a highly convoluted but catchy main bass figure, the Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields standard ‘I’m In the Mood For Love’, and ‘Firefly’. Stephen Graham

Saturday mornings may never be quite the same again. Ahmad Jamal above  photo Jean-Baptiste Millot

Copyright © 2018 marlbank . All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.