This is a very very good album that stands up to repeated listening and reveals hidden gems each time. The backing musicians are the usual suspects Steve Gadd, Nathan East, Andy Fairweather Low, and Doyle Bramhall who have the ability to seamlessly support get they 'stuff' in but never intrude. The selection ranges far and wide, delving into Stevie Wonder's 'I Ain't Gonna Stand For It' through to JJ Cale's 'Travelin Light' to a marvellous version of Charles Calhoun's 'Losing Hand' and Ray Charle's 'Come Back Baby'.
This collection brings together the early OKeh and Epic recordings of innovative jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, recorded between 1951 and 1955. Jamal ushered in a new era of melodic improvisation that stood in sharp contrast to bebop's previous innovations. These recordings were all done in trio settings, where the pianist was accompanied by guitarist Ray Crawford, and either Eddie Calhoun (1951 and 1952) or Israel Crosby on bass. The shimmering solos and light as a feather chord voicings are anything but lightweight. Sharp, harmonic invention, economical yet intuitive phrasing, and a deft sense of time pushed Jamal's star to ascendancy.
Seven years after his last solo project, Wayne Shorter returns with HIGH LIFE, which proceeds from the point where ATLANTIS, PHANTOM NAVIGATOR and JOY RIDER left off. With the assistance of master bassist-producer Marcus Miller and keyboardist Rachel Z., Shorter has fashioned a sumptuous series of harmonically detailed tone poems, anchored by the contemporary rhythm-n-ning of former Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun.HIGH LIFE won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.