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The Ahmad Jamal Interview


















My guest today is an Afro-American musical wizard. He developed his chops on the bandstand growing up at the tale end of swing and developing his own style within the bebop language.

My guest understands the African roots of his music and merged this with the blues of Chicago which were coming up the Mississippi Delta.

He found the groove in bars and nightclubs, ballrooms and burlesque houses. Could have been the London House or the Regal Theatre swinging his band and merging two different tunes by raising the hand and showing one finger or two.

My guest has an entrepreneurial spirit. He never plays the same song once, preferring the improvisational melodies that make real jazz what it is. He has done this before during and after the record industry helped create an identity for cats like Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Randy Weston, Horace Silver and Milt Jackson.

He's toured the world playing late into the evening at "Oil Can Harry's." A club in Vancouver with the venerable Calvin Keys and fellow steel city bassist John Heard. He's cut albums and soundtracks on Argo and Chess, Catalyst and 20th Century.

Today we live in the 21st century where labels have stratified music. This has led to a rigid radio structure and a shrinking record business. Throw in the fact that six night a week gigs are non existent and the music community faces a supply and demand crisis.

How do you create your own individual sound in academia? How do you get more secure on the bandstand without the consistent live engagements? How can you develop an identity in a business that values twitter followers and looks as opposed to burning music you can feel in your gut.

Looking for answers with a legend, Ahmad Jamal welcome to the JFS.



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