Ahmad Jamal is an American jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader who was born on July 2, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He is considered one of the most influential jazz pianists of the 20th century.
Jamal began playing piano at the age of three and was performing in public by the age of seven. In his early career, he played with jazz greats such as Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis.
In the 1950s, he formed his own trio, which included bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier.
Jamal’s music is characterized by his use of space and silence, as well as his innovative rhythmic and harmonic ideas. His playing style incorporates elements of bebop, swing, and classical music.
Some of Jamal’s most popular recordings include “Poinciana,” “But Not for Me,” and “Autumn Leaves.” His album “At the Pershing: But Not for Me” was a commercial success and helped to popularize jazz during the late 1950s.
Jamal has been recognized with numerous awards throughout his career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
He continues to perform and record music to this day, and his influence on jazz continues to be felt around the world.
Jamal died of prostate cancer complications on April 16, 2023, at his home in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts. He was 92.
Ahmad Jamal Parents: Meet Robert Smith Jones and Lottie Jones
Jamal was born Frederick Russell Jones in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Robert Smith Jones (father) and Lottie Jones (mother).
He began playing piano at the age of three when his uncle Lawrence challenged him to duplicate what he was doing on the piano.
Jamal began formal piano training at the age of seven with Mary Cardwell Dawson, whom he described as having greatly influenced him.