Ahmad Jamal • Yusef Lateef

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COMPOSERS: Ahmad Jamal,Yusef Lateef
LABELS: Jazz Village
ALBUM TITLE: Ahmad Jamal & Yuef Lateef Live at the Olympia
WORKS: Live at the Olympia June 27, 2012
PERFORMER: Ahmad Jamal (piano), Yusef Lateef (sax, flutes, vocals) etc
CATALOGUE NO: JV 570053.55

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Pianist Ahmad Jamal and his guest star here, the late Yusef Lateef, are arguably the most influential jazz musicians ever – at least indirectly. Miles Davis credited Jamal with shaping his approach, while that other jazz titan, John Coltrane, acknowledged Lateef (who died last year) as a role model. So, what a treat to hear (and see) these venerable players together, in a sparkling show that belies their combined 173 years.

The first CD is a live reprise of Jamal’s Blue Moon CD, a classic from the same year as this Paris concert. It has the leader meandering through a programme of post-war standards, the rhythm section responding to Jamal’s tart two-handed, party time thrills and spills.

‘The Gentle Giant’, 93-year-old Lateef, joins the quartet in the second half, adding worldly tone colours to Jamal’s twinkling Americana with his assorted reeds, flutes and vocal effects. It’s touching and toe tapping in equal measure.

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Garry Booth