Friday, January 4, 2008

Now's the Time: Ahmad Jamal

The persistent memory of empty seats at Dee Dee Bridgewater's stunning 2007 performance at the Gem Theater still rattles me. Plenty of tickets remain for Ahmad Jamal's January 19 date at the same small venue. I'd like to see that change.

This recent footage from a French festival shows that Jamal has evolved into a surprisingly aggressive pianist. His current work is significantly different than his most popular recordings. I'd be lying if I claimed that I wouldn't prefer Jamal play in this "cocktail jazz" format, or better yet, hear him revive his funk fusion sound.

Even so, Kansas Citians have a chance to see a 77-year-old jazz giant in an intimate setting on January 19. These French fans would happily pay significantly more than $40 for that opportunity.

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