“Ibrahim Maalouf brings something particularly fresh to the ongoing conversation with Davis’s mode…it also allows Maalouf’s Lebanese-French roots full play, staking out microtonal harmonic improvisations…while staking out a territory in jazz nearly all his own…this flowing and well-judged recording deserves a wide audience.” - Wind (Harmonia Mundi Distribution) reviewed on Blue Notes in Black and White.  Get Wind on iTunes!

Ibrahim Maalouf brings something particularly fresh to the ongoing conversation with Davis’s mode…it also allows Maalouf’s Lebanese-French roots full play, staking out microtonal harmonic improvisations…while staking out a territory in jazz nearly all his own…this flowing and well-judged recording deserves a wide audience.” - Wind (Harmonia Mundi Distribution) reviewed on Blue Notes in Black and White.

Get Wind on iTunes!

By starting out with a homage, Maalouf has created something that doesn’t just extend or imitate the Miles of that point in time, it becomes strikingly its own music. Maalouf’s trumpet playing is something to hear, and the compositions-arrangements feel like a complete contemporary statement, the real thing. And a very good thing at that. It’s striking!

A nostalgic gaze shows up in the Davis-like melodies played on horns and even a 1970s groovy funk quality that recalls Davis’ Bitches Brew.

The opening tracks, ‘Alejet’ and ‘El Alba’ recall Davis’ Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain period with a muted trumpet taking the lead, but on Eggun, framed by Afro-Latin percussion and piano. The slower tempo adds a touch of romance to the air so it was a good idea to release this album in February, a sultry month in the middle of winter. I think these two tracks might even be my favorites on the CD…

The recording closes with ‘Calling Eggun’ (a Yoruban god) which starts out with tentative piano that reminds me of someone sticking their toes into an ocean to check out the temperature. Davis-like trumpet follows with a gruff voice punctuating the carefully designed soundscape. The ethereal realm meets earthy and grounding Africa. If the 11 musicians that comprised the band on Eggun had the intent of conjuring the spirit of Miles Davis here, they succeeded.

Lebanese/French trumpeter/composer Ibrahim Maalouf’s brilliant new new score to the 1927 Rene Clair silent film La Proie Du Vent (Prey to the Wind) takes it its inspiration from Miles Davis’ immortal noir soundtrack to the 1958 Louis Malle film Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud (Elevator to the Gallows)…

Overall, the effect of both albums is the same, an unrelenting unease foreshadowing imminent doom despite all distractions to the contrary. Together and separately, both are classics of the noir pantheon…

The final three tableaux – chillingly tense variations on a Gallic ballad, a morose wee-hours nocturne and the suspenseful closing theme, propelled by Penn’s judicious hitman tom-tom work – drive this masterpiece home through the mist with a quietly determined wallop. It’s out now from Harmonia Mundi…

He knocked me out with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, his understatement,
In his autobiography, Miles Davis describes the impact of hearing pianist Ahmad Jamal. (via jazzinbooks)
Ahmad Jamal’s “Blue Moon” on Stereophile

Ahmad Jamal’s Blue Moon

Ahmad Jamal’s new CD, Blue Moon (on Harmonia Mundi’s new Jazz Village label), is a wonder. Jamal is 82. He still possesses that spacious lightness of touch that knocked out Miles Davis over a half-century ago. But Jamal has since added to this elegance a syncopated boisterousness, a keenness for dynamics, and an adventurous way with mixing and merging styles.

Listen to what he does with the title tune, loping on not only a slow-simmer Latin rhythm but also a bass line (which occasionally gets passed to the piano, then the drums) from the refrain of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” Or the album’s first track, an original called “Autumn Rain,” where Jamal coaxes clusters of chords, then a sprightly melody, over drummer Herlin Riley’s raucous backbeat…

This is the best Jamal album since The Essence, Volume 1, which came out 16 years ago (also featuring Badrena), and maybe a bit better than that… (link)

Ahmad Jamal received plaudits for his sensitive touch and acute sense of time even before the late Miles Davis told his first rhythm sections to “play like Jamal”. Now a vigorous 81, the pianist adds contemporary nuance to a rich orchestral pallet, superbly supported by Herlin Riley and Reginald veal on drums and bass.

The title track rattles with rimshots over a firm-fingered riff, “The Gypsy” gets stark contrasts and dark corners and “This is the Life” a rocky pulse. Three originals are mood-shifting gems.

These days, there is less of the spare, meticulously placed simplicity that made Jamal a major influence on Miles Davis, although his piano style remains notably clear and direct. He still does extraordinary and fascinating things to old standards, too. There’s a really weird treatment of “The Gipsy” here, which I just can’t get out of my head. But it’s as an impressionist composer that the latterday Ahmad Jamal really excels. Two of these pieces in particular, “Autumn Rain” and “Morning Mist”, are quite exquisite. He has a way of creating slow-moving harmony that exudes gentle calm.
Ahmad Jamal in The Guardian (UK)

Ahmad Jamal: Blue Moon – review

(Jazz Village)

guardian.co.uk,Thursday 2 February 2012 17.33 EST

Pianist Ahmad Jamal (a man even Miles Davis credited as a big influence) is now 81 – and he remains a genius at the art of motivic improvising, repeating a catchy theme (so listeners don’t lose the plot) while transforming it with fresh melody. Here, Jamal combines eloquent originals with dazzling makeovers of American standards (Laura, Invitation, Gypsy and the title track), in the inspired company of Wynton Marsalis sidemen Reginald Veal (bass) and Herlin Riley (drums), with an incandescent Manolo Badrena on Latin percussion. Jamal’s Autumn Rain opens the show with his trademark grandiloquent chords over a ticking rimshot groove, turning to rolling keyboard-length runs and a funk feel. Blue Moon is a classic firework display of silvery runs and arpeggios full of hints of the tune, the original I Remember Italy is a delicious, tender melody, and the jazz standby Woody ‘n You is as vivacious a Latin dance as anything Jamal might have recorded in his early years. Sometimes his virtuosity takes Jamal over the top, but this session looks set to be one of his classics. (link)

(via The Great Ahmad Jamal and his new cd Blue Moon | Rhythm Planet)
"I have always loved Ahmad Jamal.  So did Miles Davis, who always seemed  to recognize true originals.  Miles was an epicurean, an admirer in  women, cars, and music.  Back when I was in college I’d put his lp Naked City Theme on  my turntable and set it on repeat.  I’d go to sleep every night to his  music, taking those sweet yet powerful sounds into my dreams.   He  turned 81 last year.  But his powers and playing have not diminished one  bit.  He is just as compelling as ever…
The new lp is called Blue Moon, on the Jazz Village label, and  is being distributed by Harmonia Mundi.  It comes out mid-February.   Jamal’s versions of the title track, the David Raksin classic “Laura”,  are divine.  Holding everything down is Jamal’s bassist is Reginald  Veal, a veteran of  Branford Marsalis’ bands as well as the Jazz at  Lincoln Center Orchestra.  And it’s great to see Jamal working again  with two drummers:  longtime partner Herlin Riley on traps and the  gifted Manolo Badrena on percussion.  Ahmad is a very percussive pianist  and the interplay between the veteran jazz drummer and the Puerto Rican  percussionist gives Jamal endless stimulation.   Listen to the title  track and you find a synergy as smooth as a Porsche gearbox.     The two  drummers work as a foil to his creative imagination, a backdrop. Ahmad   improvises on it all, and you can’t miss their synergy:  it’s  everywhere on this album.  Ahmad loves it all,   he relishes it.   The  improvisation on the their version of Bronislaw Kaper’s great song  “Invitation”, is absolutely brilliant, as good as it gets.   God bless  Ahmad Jamal.  There is nobody like him.  Nobody.”

(via The Great Ahmad Jamal and his new cd Blue Moon | Rhythm Planet)

"I have always loved Ahmad Jamal.  So did Miles Davis, who always seemed to recognize true originals.  Miles was an epicurean, an admirer in women, cars, and music.  Back when I was in college I’d put his lp Naked City Theme on my turntable and set it on repeat.  I’d go to sleep every night to his music, taking those sweet yet powerful sounds into my dreams.   He turned 81 last year.  But his powers and playing have not diminished one bit.  He is just as compelling as ever…

The new lp is called Blue Moon, on the Jazz Village label, and is being distributed by Harmonia Mundi.  It comes out mid-February.  Jamal’s versions of the title track, the David Raksin classic “Laura”, are divine.  Holding everything down is Jamal’s bassist is Reginald Veal, a veteran of  Branford Marsalis’ bands as well as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  And it’s great to see Jamal working again with two drummers:  longtime partner Herlin Riley on traps and the gifted Manolo Badrena on percussion.  Ahmad is a very percussive pianist and the interplay between the veteran jazz drummer and the Puerto Rican percussionist gives Jamal endless stimulation.   Listen to the title track and you find a synergy as smooth as a Porsche gearbox.     The two drummers work as a foil to his creative imagination, a backdrop. Ahmad  improvises on it all, and you can’t miss their synergy:  it’s everywhere on this album.  Ahmad loves it all,   he relishes it.   The improvisation on the their version of Bronislaw Kaper’s great song “Invitation”, is absolutely brilliant, as good as it gets.   God bless Ahmad Jamal.  There is nobody like him.  Nobody.”