Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia * 2CD+1DVD

  • Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia * 2CD+1DVD
  • Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia * 2CD+1DVD
  • Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia * 2CD+1DVD
  • Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia * 2CD+1DVD
Olympia, Paris, 27 June 2012. In this mythical concert hall, the Ahmad Jamal quartet played in telepathic mode to reinvent the Blue Moon repertoire. Then, before giving the audience a transformed rendering of Poinciana, a hit from the Chess era, the pianist brought on stage Yusef Lateef who played with him in the glory days of the Atlantic label. The pioneering world fusion wind player then conjured up some magical moments and took us on one of those mystical journeys to which he has the key. This set offers the entire historic concert in sound and images, illuminated by these two jazz greats inspired by groove and the spirit of the sacred.

Ahmad Jamal: piano
Yusef Lateef: tenor saxophone, flute, vocals
Reginald Veal: double bass
Herlin Riley: drums

Ahmad Jamal's live performances have been well represented in his discography over the past sixty years. Yet despite touring the globe, all Jamal's live recordings — with the exception of the DVD concert from Lebanon, Live at Baalbeck (Birdology, 2003) — document North American and European gigs. France has always accorded the Pittsburgh pianist a royal welcome, naming him an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2007; the regard is mutual, as Live at the Olympia is Jamal's fourth live recording in the French capital since 1992. Recorded in June 2012, this double CD set captures the entire concert, with iconic multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef joining Jamal's ensemble for the second set.

The first set features all but one of the tracks from Blue Moon (Jazz Village, 2012) and in the same running order. Herlin Riley, Manolo Badrena and Reginald Veal's lilting rhythms underpin "Autumn Rain" as Jamal glides between feathery lyricism and bold cascades. A dancing version of Rogers and Hart's 1944 classic "Blue Moon" is all about groove, with Jamal's delightfully understated comping keeping the melody flickering throughout. The quartet is in particularly playful mood on Billy Reid's "The Gypsy," a whimsical vignette whose charms work best in the live arena. The musicians hit their stride on Bronislau Kaper/Ned Washington's "Invitation," with Jamal's inventive narrative —t wisting this way and that — melodically seductive and rhythmically vital.

With four such pronounced rhythmic voices brewing up a collective storm, the sotto voce pulses and melodic elegance of "I Remember Italy" and "Laura" provide a timely swing in mood. Veal's extended bass solo announces Jamal's "Morning Mist," which flits between the delightful melody and the pianist's arresting improvisational musings. A spare yet swinging arrangement of the Lee Adams/Charles Strouse tune "This is the Life" rounds out the first CD, with Badrena working his percussive magic over Jamal's extended vamp.

The second CD sees the ninety one year old Lateef guest with Jamal's quartet, reprising the collaboration that took place at Marciac the previous year. Jamal, however, sits out the thirteen-minute "Exatogi." Switching between tenor saxophone and flute, Lateef's meditative sonorities are buoyed by Riley and Badrena's African-flavored rhythms and accents. Lateef's wordless lowing has the quality of a spiritual incantation. Jamal joins the ensemble for "Masara," maintaining a vamp as Lateef hypnotizes with a gently snaking flute improvisation.

Lateef sings on Richard M. Jones' blues standard from the 1920s "Trouble in Mind," a role he interpreted on oboe in Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's sextet in the 1960s. Lateef's vocal on "Brother Hold your Light" is infused with the spirit of gospel, soul and the blues. Jamal's rhapsodic comping undulates in intensity, while Badrena's (tambourine-filtered?) contorted cries bring an otherworldy edge to the music. Jamal's quartet encores by briefly revisiting the melody of "Blue Moon" before launching into the perennial crowd-pleaser "Poinciana."

Live at the Olympia may not be the definitive Jamal live recording but in bringing together the pianist and Lateef—who died in 2013—it is certainly an historic one.
- Ian Patterson, allaboutjazz.com

Please note: we have only a limited quantity of this DVD/CD pack.

Add to Cart:

Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia

$20.00

Related Works: