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Marquee Names: Ahmad Jamal Trio – “Darn That Dream”

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Genius and the Intimate Intensity of an After Hours Lounge.

The beatmaking community (and culture) shares a number of similarities to the jazz community of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. Both communities were comprised of what I like to call “anonymous heroes,” acclaimed musicians not necessarily known by the general public or even the broader music scene yet fervently respected among their peers. Another parallel that I also like to draw between the jazz and beatmaking communities deals with the appreciation of the music itself.

In this video of the Ahmad Jamal Trio performing “Darn That Dream,” you can’t help but be struck by the sheer reverence and appreciation for the music. The incredible talent of the Ahmad Jamal Trio notwithstanding, you get the feeling that performances like these were as much comfort zone — therapeutic sessions for the musicians — as they were rare moments of musical genius. I find this akin to the road many beatmakers follow today.

Under the masterful leadership of Ahmad Jamal on piano, the trio, balanced out by Israel Crosby on bass and Vernel Fournier on drums, cooked up a smoky lounge blues, something intimate and certain yet more alluring because of the 3 a.m. setting that seemed to encompass their sound. The Ahmad Jamal Trio’s music was thrilling not for a number of obvious frills (often found in quartets and larger outfits) but for its various subtle challenges.

With “Darn That Dream,” you can hear what makes the Ahmad Jamal trio so unique. Jamal’s piano is airy and roomy, his phrasing, spaced nicely as usual, glides more than it rumbles. But the impact of each of his notes are strong still the same. Crosby’s bass is steady, swinging in time to the various ghost notes that Jamal plays. And Fournier’s drums shuffle along with a perched subtlety, occasionally rapping the snare with a punch and a light jab. The Ahamad Trio doesn’t as much as soar here with “Darn That Dream” as they float.

The music alone is a treasure, but the video footage below is absolutely priceless. In addition to paying close attention to the musicians, notice the onlookers.

The music and video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Ahmad Jamal Trio – “Darn That Dream”

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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual