Ahmad Jamal’s technique, dynamics and control as a jazz piano player are something to behold, but his ability to manipulate what comes out of the piano is extraordinary. Like only the greatest of improvising artists, Jamal is a master musical architect, realizing what his mind conceives with seeming ease. He certainly exercised a profound influence on pianists and his trio set a new standard for what the piano trio in jazz would aim for and achieve. His knack for finding obscure but viable material which lent itself to a jazz treatment was equal to that of Sonny Rollins and Jimmy Rowles. But when Ahmad put an overlooked tune into circulation, it often stayed in the jazz repertoire forever thereafter. And with songs like “Poinciana” and “Billy Boy,” it was Jamal’s unique and imaginative re-arrangement of the tune which would become the standard form with which to play the piece.
Much like Miles Davis (who incidentally was greatly influenced by him), his influence is felt in music that attempts to replicate his and in great music that sounds nothing like his. But unlike musicians of similar or even lesser impact, the music of the 1957-62 Ahmad Jamal Trio has been mysteriously and distressingly hard to come by, even in the “reissue everything” era of the Compact Disc. (All About Jazz)
A special edition of collected Jamal’s works comes on 9 CDs and it’s been released on Mosaic record label in limited 5000 copies: The Complete Ahmad Jamal Trio Argo Sessions (Limited Edition Box Set)