#33/100 – Ahmad Jamal – Portfolio Of Ahmad Jamal

This was a bit of a sentimental pick because it was a library media sale pick that introduced me to his work and it remains a favorite. The album was recorded in late 1958 in his D.C. nightclub, very nicely as well, and captures a moment in time. It’s also a release that never made it to cassette, CD, or digital. Portions of this were included on an album along with parts of at least one other performance. Thankfully many of the best tracks are on that.

Side A is strong, with This Can’t Be Love, Autumn Leaves, and Ahmad’s Blues. A tough pick as the latter of the three is such a great track, but this version of Autumn Leaves is so full of character. It has very elegant tempo changes, excellent areas where Ahmad lets two or three bars breathe, a segment where he plays very far behind, and the outdo. This is one of my favorite recorded moments because the band plays quieter, and quieter still, until Ahmad gives one of his infamous laughs and the crowd cheers. All the while the ambient sounds of an active night club contrast against the music. Delightful


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