"A new recording by Ahmad Jamal, especially after Blue Moon (2012) and Saturday Morning (2013), is a treat.
So a twofer (including a DVD) of a 2012 concert at the Olympia in Paris, where the piano master revisits the Blue Moon repertoire on one disc and performs with multi-reeds player Yusef Lateef on the second is a treat extraordinaire.
Disc 1 of Live at the Olympia — June 27, 2012 (Jazz Village) is a reprise/remake of Blue Moon’s great tunes — such as Autumn Rain, The Gypsy, Morning Mist and This is the Life — with the original lineup of Jamal, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and percussionist Manolo Badrena.
The quartet is a well-oiled machine and songs that could be characterized as chestnuts in other hands are vital and joyous.
Riley and Badrena weave an intricate web of percussion alongside Jamal’s dynamic playing in this animated live recording.
Autumn Rain, for example, features lilting rhythms from Riley, Badrena and Veal underneath Jamal’s silky cascades of sound.
An extended bass solo opens Morning Mist with Jamal’s delightful melody and improvisations by the octogenarian pianist.
Disc 2 features Lateef’s tenor-sax exclamations on the quirky Exatogi and moody flute on Masara. Lateef adds vocals on two numbers — Trouble in Mind and Brother Hold Your Light — that become a matter of taste.
The disc ends with the quartet reprising the melody of Blue Moon and playing Jamal’s longstanding hit Poinciana. The DVD features the entire concert.
Get the set for the musicality of Jamal’s quartet and for the historic significance of the performance by two jazz greats 18 months before the death of Lateef, a man who played world music before it had a name.”
Live at The Olympia on Amazon: http://ow.ly/C5qVo