At the Pershing: But Not for Me
Artist: Ahmad Jamal
Genre: Modal Jazz
On Count ‘Em 88, Ahmad Jamal’s lenthy piano vamps were “relaxing” and “comfortable” (and “underrated” and “visionary”). These adjectives unfortunately don’t apply to his most famous work, the live At the Pershing LP. His solo innovations — or lack thereof — have lost their charm. Usually, I’d be ecstatic about a one-note piano solo; Jamal’s lack of energy makes it boring.
This is emotionless automaton music. Disappointing, avant-garde by accident — At the Pershing: But Not for Me is empty and vapid. And Jamal might only be a black Lennie Tristano.