April 8, 2017

Ahmad Jamal - Freeflight (1972)

If you enjoy The Awakening, then this album is right up your alley. Jamal was on some West coast cool jazz shit in the 1950s, but he had put another edge to his music by the time The Awakening and Freeflight were recorded. I listen to virtually no West coast jazz artists, so I can't really compare the trajectories in that area, but this is most similar to the piano-based albums being put out by the then-emerging ECM label. Forward thinking and with a more progressive groove--no doubt, but heavily rooted in traditional bop melodies. Jamal indulged electric keyboards by the 1970s, and does so for a small portion of this album. He's skilled in that realm and I think this album is a better showcase of electric Jamal than Jamal Plays Jamal (the only other album I've heard where he goes electric). You know, there really aren't enough live performances of Fender Rhodes playing, but you get some dope shit right here. If you're just chilling one weekend morning and want something laid back and sophisticated to vibe to, look no further. Calm, limber music that can certainly be considered a product of its time.