Justin V

Thoughts on the Ahmad Jamal Mosaic?

30 posts in this topic

I searched and found a couple of threads about the Ahmad Jamal Mosaic when it was still in the works, but I didn't find a thread dicussing it after its release.  Being as I like Jamal and enjoyed seeing him twice but don't have much of his work, I jumped on a partial Mosaic I found on eBay (6/9 discs for 35 bucks).  I didn't realize that the set was available for download for a relatively low price, but I should be able to recoup my 35 bucks if I decide to go the download route later.

So, what does everyone think of the Jamal Mosaic?

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I got it, I knew most of the material and felt good about getting a Mosaic of it, especially since it was most of it that I already knew and not all.

Since you like Jamal, it should be a happy thing for you to get the Mosaic. Not everybody likes Jamal, but everybody doesn't like something, and this is not Sarah Lee, this is Ahmad Jamal.

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Love it.

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" I didn't realize that the set was available for download for a relatively low price" 

Where is this download available?  Are there other mosaics available for legitimate download? 

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1 hour ago, hbbfam said:

" I didn't realize that the set was available for download for a relatively low price" 

Where is this download available?  Are there other mosaics available for legitimate download? 

 

Many sets are available through Amazon, Google, etc. as The Capitol Vaults Jazz Series.  Some other ones that are available, but not under that series name, are the Johnny Hodges, Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson and Gerry Mulligan sets.  One way to find them is to search under a particular artist's name and then sort the albums by price from high to low.

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I like piano trios, so I had to have it. The only part I don't care for, naturally, is the non-trio material.

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Posted (edited)

I have much of it on single LPs and CDs but will immediately get one as soon as it runs low, or during the next three months. One of the best piano trios in jazz history, IMO.

Edited by mikeweil

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All the Jamal records I have are far from quiet and quiet surfaces are what this music needs. The Mosaic set sounds fantastic.

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Same here - all the vinyl I have was bought second hand at Crocodisc in Paris, and it was played!

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I love it ... had less than half of it when it was announced and stopped buying more, but waited several years before actually buying it ...

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Part of me embraces the scratchy vinyls that are mostly found out in the wild (as they say) because it's tangible proof that the records were bought by people who didn't buy them with the intention of collecting/preserving them. They bought them to use functionally. So when you hear all that noise, it's quite possibly documentation of parties, seductions, records stacked 5-10 deep on a changer, just all kinds of things that would leave a noise trail.

But that's just part of me. Another part really likes hearing the music present without those artifacts, so I can more accurately here it as it was recorded.

I'm glad I can hear this music both ways - as it was recorded and how it was used. Too bad there's not more jazz radio DJ airshots floating around, you know that Jamal was coming out the airwaves on nice crispy/crackly (sometimes) AM and cool clean FM. Those are still other ways this music was used/heard, stillother ways that it sounded.

But for our detached-from-all-that reality of today, yeah, this set will be as good as you can get of this material.

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5 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Part of me embraces the scratchy vinyls that are mostly found out in the wild (as they say) because it's tangible proof that the records were bought by people who didn't buy them with the intention of collecting/preserving them. They bought them to use functionally. So when you hear all that noise, it's quite possibly documentation of parties, seductions, records stacked 5-10 deep on a changer, just all kinds of things that would leave a noise trail.

But that's just part of me. Another part really likes hearing the music present without those artifacts, so I can more accurately here it as it was recorded.

I'm glad I can hear this music both ways - as it was recorded and how it was used. Too bad there's not more jazz radio DJ airshots floating around, you know that Jamal was coming out the airwaves on nice crispy/crackly (sometimes) AM and cool clean FM. Those are still other ways this music was used/heard, stillother ways that it sounded.

But for our detached-from-all-that reality of today, yeah, this set will be as good as you can get of this material.

When I first started listening to jazz and I encountered Phil Schapp (as I was driving to work), he would say that modern listeners needed to train their mind so that they could hear the music apart from the scratches because that might be the only way they’d hear the music.  Over the years, I’ve had some success with that approach but not always. 

I will purchase this set at some point but probably await until I’ve caught up with my listening or it goes on last chance, whichever comes first. 

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I spent so many of my formative years in noisy clubs (jazz and otherwise) that the notion of hearing music without extraneous noise is still not necessarily, shall we say, reflexive.

Especially since the introduction of electric mixers.

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I still remember those nonstop musical hours broadcast on AFM FM over here (contrary to their AM stations, FM was very, very cheeezy MOR easy listening) where they had hours and hours of ... what? ... background music (not quite muzak) for various chores where lush instrumental music from a period that even then (mid- to late 70s) would qualify as "oldies".
And in between orchestras like Percy Faith, Mantovani, Nelson Riddle or Hugo Winterhalter (the first time i ever "heard" THAT name - sticks in your mind if the first time you HEAR it it is pronounced by an American ;)) you ever so often had a recording by Ahmad Jamal. Which was the more listenable stuff among the rest to my ears and as far as I remember the most prominently featured piano trio in between these orchestras. Did listeners tuning in to orchestras like this really make up that much of his target audience at the time, I wonder?

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Back in the day, a lot of African-American people my own age would have Jamal records that they brought from home, from their parent's collection. No idea what the German housewife demographic was.

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I would guess based upon many years of looking at used record bins that Ramsey Lewis was actually more popular than Ahmad Jamal. It certainly seems as if I see more of his records than Jamal's. Over a long period of time, I have acquired pristine Jamal  records, though that is not the norm.   

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37 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Back in the day, a lot of African-American people my own age would have Jamal records that they brought from home, from their parent's collection. No idea what the German housewife demographic was.

AFN = AMERICAN Forces Network!

See what I mean now? ;)

 

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Ok, I have no idea about the American-Housewife-In-Germany demographic either.

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Posted (edited)

4 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Ok, I have no idea about the American-Housewife-In-Germany demographic either.

Make that American-Housewife-Dispatched-Anywhere-in-Europe-With-Her-All-Volunteer-Army-Hubby demographic, then ...

Fair enough but still odd ...

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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24 minutes ago, kh1958 said:

I would guess based upon many years of looking at used record bins that Ramsey Lewis was actually more popular than Ahmad Jamal. It certainly seems as if I see more of his records than Jamal's. Over a long period of time, I have acquired pristine Jamal  records, though that is not the norm.   

Different time frames of peak popularity, perhaps? Most of the Argo RL sides I find are post-Sloopy, which was when, 65 or 66?

Jamal's peak popularity was post-Pershing, which was when, 56-57 or so?

Lewis definitely held his popularity higher than Jamal. His Columbia records were hits, many of the crossovered into the R&B chats. But Jamal had a second wave of heightened popularity around the same time. His 20th Century Fox records did quite well too. I'm not saying they were particularly good, I never took to them, but they sold and got airplay.

Funny story, perhaps. I was playing a mix tape on a road trip (as if there's any other place for a mix tape), and Lewis' "The World Is A Ghetto" was on it. The trumpet player I was riding with said, who is that, Ahmad Jamal? I said no, that's Ramsey Lewis. The guy said CLOSE ENOUGH! and then we both laughed, because I knew what he meant, he came from that demographic that hear both of them as "popular music" in his youth, and even though the specifics of each player could not be more different, the "in the air" sound, yeah, there is that.

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Posted (edited)

Personally, I never could connect to Ramsey Lewis. I've bought a few of his albums on Argo, and I even went to see him when he played at the Meyerson (early '90s?), but I was utterly bored by the concert. The only one of his recordings that I looked for was the seemingly fairly rare recording with Lem Wincester. I finally found a copy, but in poor condition.

Edited by kh1958

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Me neither, at least not until the Cleveland Eaton/Morris Jennings tandem took hold. Those guys got there for me.

But here's joke on me - the Ramsey Lewis cut mentioned in my story above was, now that I think about it, "Slippin' Into Darkness" - but  -"The World Is A Ghetto" was another one that got airplay around here, but by Ahmad Jamal. So, in this case, close enough indeed!

Either way - they both connected to their target audiences and seem to leave most of everybody else totally cold.

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15 hours ago, JSngry said:

Part of me embraces the scratchy vinyls that are mostly found out in the wild (as they say) because it's tangible proof that the records were bought by people who didn't buy them with the intention of collecting/preserving them. They bought them to use functionally. So when you hear all that noise, it's quite possibly documentation of parties, seductions, records stacked 5-10 deep on a changer, just all kinds of things that would leave a noise trail.

Do you also buy used mattresses and pick up sofas left on the curb? XD

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15 hours ago, Brad said:

When I first started listening to jazz and I encountered Phil Schapp (as I was driving to work), he would say that modern listeners needed to train their mind so that they could hear the music apart from the scratches because that might be the only way they’d hear the music.

The old-timey sound quality was initially the hurdle that prevented me from listening to early jazz, but eventually I learned to hear the music behind the recording. But if I have the choice between new, clean, well-done digital transfers with judicious noise reduction, and a dirty, scratchy old LP that's been laying on a garage floor for the past 40 years, I'll take the former, thank you very much.

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