We have always been fans of Ahmad Jamal, which is why he turns up on the Hymies blog fairly often (for instance here). He is certainly one of the most successful small combo pianists in the world of jazz. His catalog of seventy-five or so albums rarely steps outside of the trio format, and just as rarely does he record with electric instruments.
The only thing we like more than the opening track on this 1976 album from his years at 20th Century is the dapper suit he his wearing on the cover.
On the song “Handicapper” Jamal is joined by guitarist Calvin Keys, who is one of the few musicians to join Jamal’s trio as a fourth for more than a few recordings. Keys was a successful side-man but also released a few albums for the Black Jazz label which have recently come back into print.
Jamal’s occasional jaunts on the Fender Rhodes electric keyboard are some of our favorites of his albums. Notable is his performance at the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival, which was split over two albums (Freeflight and Outertimeinnerspace), which is one of his first electric performances.