Dec 21, 2009
With the shortest day of the year today, something soothing, cool and yet slightly challenging, much like winter itself, is in store. Click here to listen to "Snowfall", as performed by pianist Ahmad Jamal.
Jamal is well-known for his creative use of space when composing and performing. He never places five notes when two will suffice, and he never wears his significant technical ability on his sleeve.
I found this track on his Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 compilation album, where tracks from his classic At the Pershing: But Not For Me were bundled with live recordings from other Chicago area concert venues. "Snowfall", a compostion by noted arranger and big band leader Claude Thornhill and his wife Ruth, was recorded at the Alhambra in 1961. Thornhill's "cool sound" arrangements were the result of his collaborations with Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan, both of whom would use their experience with Thornhill when they created The Birth of the Cool with the Miles Davis Nonet.
His trio for the date wacomposed of Jamal on piano, Vernell Fournier on drums and and Isreal Crosby on bass. Fournier was one of the first drummers Jamal made a permanent part of his trios, often preferringto use a guitar player for rhythm.