CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

AmazonUK   AmazonUS


The Classic 1958-1962

Jazz Dynamics 006




1. But Not For Me

2. The Surrey With the Fringe On Top

3. Moonlight in Vermont

4. Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)

5. There is No Greater Love

6. Poinciana

7. Woody 'n You

8. What’s New?

9. Too Late Now

10. All the Things You Are

11. Cherokee

12. It Might As Well Be Spring

13. I'll Remember April

14. My Funny Valentine

15. Gone With the Wind

16. Billy Boy

17. It's You or No One

18. They Can’t Take That Away from Me

19. Poor Butterfly

20. Secret Love

21. Taking a Chance on Love

22. Soft Winds


1. Taboo

2. Should I?

3. Stompin’ at the Savoy

4. The Girl Next Door

5. I Wish I Knew

6. Cheek to Cheek

7. Autumn in New York

8. Secret Love

9. Squatty Roo

10. That's All

11. This Can’t Be Love

12. Autumn Leaves

13. Ahmad’s Blues

14. Ole Devil Moon

15. Seleritus

16. It Could Happen To You

17. Ivy

18. Tater Pie

19. Let's Fall In Love

20. Aki & Ukthay (Brother & Sister)


1. You Don’t Know What Love is

2. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

3. So Beats My Heart For You

4. A Gal In Calico

5. Our Delight

6. Little Old Lady

7. For All We Know

8. Pavanne

9. Excerpt from the Blues

10. Easy To Love

11. Time On My Hands

12. Raincheck

13. I'll Never Stop Loving You

14. Speak Low

15. Rhumba No. 2

16. We Kiss In the Shadow

17. Sweet and Lovely

18. The Party's Over

19. Love For Sale

20. Snow Fall


1. Broadway

2. Willow Weep For Me

3. Autumn Leaves

4. Isn't It Romantic?

5. The Breeze and I

6. Time On My Hands

7. Angel Eyes

8. You Go To My Head

9. Star Eyes

10. All of You

11. You're Blasé

12. What is This Thing Called Love?

13. Poinciana

14. Autumn Leaves (1955 Studio Version)


1. I'll Take Romance/My Funny Valentine

2. Like Someone In Love

3. Falling In Love With Love

4. The Best Thing For You

5. April In Paris

6. The Second Time Around

7. We Live In Two Different Worlds

8. Night Mist Blues

9. Darn That Dream

10. On Green Dolphin Street

11. Poinciana (1955 Studio Version)

12. Pavanne (1955 Studio Version)

13. All of You (1955 Studio Version)

14. Darn That Dream (1955 Studio Version)

15. Ahmad’s Blues (1952 Studio Version)

16. A Gal In Calico (1952 Studio Version)

17. Aki & Ukthay (Brother & Sister) (1952 Studio Version)

18. Billy Boy (1952 Studio Version)


Ahmad Jamal – Piano

Israel Crosby – Bass

Vernel Fournier - Drums

On CD4, track 14, CD5 tracks 11-18

Ray Crawford – Guitar replaces Vernel Fournier

On CD5, tracks 15-18

Eddie Calhoun – Bass replaces Israel Crosby


Ahmad Jamal fans will hail this five-CD set with open arms, as it contains all Ahmad’s trio recordings from 1958 to 1962, including the sessions recorded at Chicago’s Pershing Lounge and Alhambra club, the Spotlight in Washington, and the Blackhawk in San Francisco. As the sleeve says: “This was the music that made Jamal famous”.

The opening But Not For Me immediately sets the scene, with Ahmad’s economical piano superbly backed by Israel Crosby’s punctuations on bass and Vernel Fournier’s just-right drumming. There are examples of Jamal’s habit of ceasing to play and letting the rhythm section keep up the momentum. Bill Evans’s trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian is often hailed as the first fully integrated piano trio but Ahmad Jamal’s trio predates it by a year, and there is no doubt that all three members of the group were integral to its success. Crosby’s rock-steady bass and Fournier’s simple but mightily effective drum patterns were essential aspects of the group, as was Ahmad’s frugal piano. A track like Should I? seems to contain as much bass and drums as piano.

Like all good jazzmen, Ahmad can surprise the listener. Who else would take Too Late Now? at such a racy speed, and then keep altering the tempo? And note how Jamal suddenly turns the middle eight of Moonlight in Vermont into a waltz, as well as ending it with a mystifying stop-start sequence. He is also a master of dynamics, moving unexpectedly from soft to loud and back again.

Ahmad certainly had his clichés, such as the syncopated triplet he often uses at the end of tunes. As you work your way through the 94 tracks in this collection, you become increasingly aware of some of Jamal’s favourite tricks, especially at the start or end of numbers.

Israel Crosby sadly died in August 1962 and was replaced by Eddie Calhoun on the last four tracks, while Vernel Fournier was replaced by guitarist Ray Crawford on several more. Some of the items with Crawford are magical, such as the precision between guitar and piano in Darn That Dream.

The recordings are clear and well-balanced, with bass and drums plainly audible, underlining the valuable contributions of Israel and Vernel. The 36-page booklet is a colourful bonus, containing the original liner notes from all the albums included.

Tony Augarde


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: