• Home
  • Music
  • Influential Jazz Pianist Ahmad Jamal Dies At 92

Influential Jazz Pianist Ahmad Jamal Dies At 92

Ahmad Jamal, the influential jazz pianist, composer, and band leader, has died at the age of 92. He was known for his unique musical style and served as a source of inspiration for generations of jazz musicians like Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarret and the trumpeter and bandleader Miles Davis.

It was reported by the New York Times that he died on Sunday at his home in Ashley Falls, Mass, the cause being prostate cancer, said his daughter Sumayah Jamal. 

From the age of 14, Jamal embarked on his professional music career by creating a unique sound that leaped over genre boundaries. Minimalism, classical, modernism, pop: Ahmad was sometimes likened to Thelonious Monk in terms of his ability to innovate and influence other musicians, later being sampled by the likes of De La Soul, Jay-Z, Common, and Nas.

The trumpeter Miles Davis once said: “All my inspiration comes from Ahmad Jamal,” writing in his memoir that his friend has “knocked me out with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, and the way he phrases notes and chords and passages.”

Mr. Jamal made a lasting effect on jazz in his career, which later brought him a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master award, a lifetime achievement Grammy and induction into France’s Order of Arts and Letters. His musical approach, named “the spaces in the music,” stood as a contrast to the challengingly complex music known as bebop, which was sweeping the jazz world when Mr. Jamal began his career as a teenager in the mid-1940s. Mr. Jamal decided to take an entirely different path with his laid-back, accessible style, with its dense chords, its wide dynamic range, and above all, its judicious use of silence. This soon later became an integral part of the jazz landscape. 

While Jamal performed jazz, he called it “American classical music,” performing in the house band for Chicago’s Pershing Hotel lounge- a Black-owned favorite of the likes of Sammy Davis Jr and Billie Holiday. In 1958, he recorded his breakthrough album, “Perishing: But Not For Me,” which sold 1 million copies and remained on the Billboard magazine charts for more than 100 weeks. This made Jamal a household name when rock’n’roll was on the up, and jazz was beginning to wane. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Jamal continued to perform relentlessly and released several live albums, shoring up his reputation as one of the best living jazz performers.


Join Our Mailing List

    Recent Articles

    The Weeknd Defends ‘The Idol’ Following Backlash

    The Weeknd had responded to a March exposé by Rolling Stone regarding his forthcoming HBO series The Idol, which was described by the publication as “torture porn.” According to anonymous “production sources,” the making of the show was allegedly “plagued by delays, reshoots, and rewrites” and described as a “shit show” by those involved. Rolling Stone claimed that the series has gone “wildly, disgustingly off the rails.”

    Bridgerton’s TV Series Impact On Modern Day Classical Music

    Each season, Bridgerton is effectively connecting genres and generations of timeless art, introducing those who might not have ever listened to classical music to now be adoring fans, all thanks to the hit show. Bridgerton was the most-watched show in English Netflix history, with now over 627 million hours viewed, introducing millions of people to the beauty of classical music. 

    Halsey and Sugar performing at concert

    Halsey Makes Surprise Appearance Suga’s LA Concert

    BTS member Suga invited Halsey on stage for his solo concert at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles on Sunday evening in the context of his world tour “Suga Agust D.” On the last day of the three-day concert, Sugar surprised his fans with the appearance of Halsey for the 2020 song ‘Suga’s Interlude,’ from Halsey’s third studio album ‘Manic.’ 

    Tory Lanez denied new trial in Megan Thee Stallion shooting

    On Tuesday, a Los Angeles judge denied motion for a new trail from lawyers for rapper Tory Lanez, who was convicted of three felonies in December for shooting and injuring the foot of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion. A sentencing date has not been set, but Judge David Herriford of the Superior Court of Los Angeles indicated during a hearing on April 17 that Lanez would be sentenced within 30 days of the decision on the motion for a new trial.

    Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!