Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blast From The Past: Ahmad Jamal Trio 1959

Listening to the recent BBC broadcast of pianist Ethan Iverson's interview with Keith Jarrett, I found many things very intriguing.

The interview, which can be found here (, found the often misunderstood jazz legend in a delightful mood, seemingly eager to share his thoughts. Where many past Jarrett interviews seem to find him drifting from the questions or being vague or confusing in his answers, it is obvious that in this interview Jarrett is honest, sincere, and happy to share. The interview is extremely revealing and truly fascinating.

Speaking on his influences, Jarrett confessed his love for the playing of Ahmad Jamal, describing the initial experience of discovering Jamal's music. He said, "It changed my mind about everything that could happen. Up till then it was just a virtuosity thing...playing fast or least swinging was there. But then there was a spacial thing, and not a need for constant playing."

Another interesting portion of the interview comes at it's end, when Iverson describes what he finds to be part of Jarrett's appeal and the reason for Jarrett's influence on himself.

He says, "I don't think there's been someone else who's been able to play so much piano yet at the same time not regard that as the mission of the musician. Most piano virtuosos I think end up deciding that the virtuosity is the most important part of the message, but that has never been Keith Jarrett's way."

It is amazing to realize how parallel each pianist's statements are regarding their own pianistic influences.

I've posted a video of the Ahmad Jamal Trio playing "Darn That Dream" in 1959. Enjoy!

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