Ahmad Jamal Descends on Oakland Tonight, Plays Yoshi’s San Francisco This Weekend

Jazz Standard-Bearer Plays with Economy, but Still Kills

A lot of Ahmad Jamal’s appeal lies in his use of blank space between notes — he plays in a style that’s closer to Monk, or some of the old stride players, than to most of his contemporaries: frequent glissandos; rickety two-handed runs; a left handed comp rhythm that’s like a kick drum beat, played on one chord. Jamal must plot out his solos from a drummer’s perspective, because the phrasing sounds like it’s based on a groove, rather than melodic or harmonic ideas. That actually doesn’t matter because, as Jamal proved last night at Oakland Yoshi’s — where he took the stage alongside bassist James Cammack, drummer Idris Muhammad, and percussionist Manolo Badrena — he’s a phenomenal performer.

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Oakland
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