THE PIANO SCENE OF AHMAD JAMAL [LP]
Barcode: 8436569194034 / Cat: 29020 / 1 LP / Label: MATCHBALL RECORDS
Although it was issued in 1959, the LP The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal compiles performances from Jamal’s earliest recording sessions for Okeh in 1951–52 in Chicago, and a 1955 Epic session from October 1955 in New York. Jamal and guitarist Ray Crawford are present on all sides, while bassist Eddie Calhoun plays on the 1951-52 recordings, and Israel Crosby replaces him on the 1955 tracks. When Jamal recorded all of these sides, he was still years away from the beginning of his success, which would come after the release of his 1958 Pershing and Spotlight live performances. Israel Crosby (born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 19, 1919) was one of Jamal’s best collaborators from the early years of his career. A close contemporary of Jimmy Blanton, Crosby is less regarded as a pioneer, but his interactive playing in Jamal’s trio and that of George Shearing shows how easily and fluently he displayed a modern approach to jazz double bass. He is credited with taking the first recorded bass solo on his 1935 recording of “Blues for Israel” with drummer Gene Krupa (Prestige PR 7644) when he was only 16. He died of a heart attack on August 11, 1962, two months after leaving Jamal to join the Shearing Quintet. Eddie Calhoun (1921-1993) is best remembered for the decade he spent playing with the Erroll Garner trio and quartet.