Artist of the Month

Ahmad Jamal

We are honoured to present Piano Magazine's Artist of the Month for October: legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal.
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ahmad jamal

Ahmad Jamal’s Highlights

  • 1930: Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • 1933: Began playing the piano at age 3.
  • 1941: After studying with Mary Cardwell Dawson — the noted African American concert singer, he made his professional debut by age 11.
  • 1944: Member of the American Federation of Musicians aged 14 (he claimed to be 16 in order to join).
  • 1947: Left home at the request of the George Hudson Orchestra and began touring the United States, taking the New York City Apollo Theater stage with the orchestra at 18 years of age.
  • 1949: Joined swing violinist Joe Kennedy’s group Four Strings, which led to the formation of his trio Three Strings — later became the Ahmad Jamal Trio, one of the most popular jazz acts in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
  • 1958: Released At the Pershing: But Not for Me (Argo Records), featuring performances recorded at the Pershing Lounge of Chicago’s Pershing Hotel; this album became a surprise smash hit and spent 108 weeks among the top ten best selling albums.
  • 1959: Entertainment Award, Pittsburgh Junior Chamber of Commerce.
  • 1971: Released the album Freeflight (Impulse!), featuring performances recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
  • 1980: Key to the City of Providence, Rhode Island, by Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr.
  • 1981: Received his first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Instrumental Performance (You’re Welcome, Stop On By).
  • 1986: Merit Award, Art Director’s Club of New York 65th Annual Exhibition (Digital Works, Atlantic Records). Mellon Jazz Festival Salutes Ahmad Jamal, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 1993: Honorary Citizenship, City of Memphis.
  • 1994: Duke Ellington Fellow Award, Yale University. NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship.
  • 1995: Choc de l’annĂ©e award (Jazzman, France) for his album The Essence Part One (Birdology). Then he released the album Big Byrd: The Essence Part 2 (Birdology), featuring performances recorded in Paris in 1994 and New York in 1995. Two tracks from his hit album At the Pershing: But Not for Me (1958) were featured in the Clint Eastwood film The Bridges of Madison County.
  • 1998: His piano transcriptions book, The Ahmad Jamal Collection, was published by Hal Leonard.
  • 2003: American Jazz Hall of Fame — New Jersey Jazz Society, Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Gold Medallion, Steinway & Sons.
  • 2005: Released the album After Fajr (Birdology, Dreyfus Jazz), featuring performances recorded in Enghien, France, in 2004 and Boston, Massachusetts, USA, in 2005.
  • 2007: Kennedy Center’s Living Jazz Legend Award.
  • 2008: Released the album It’s Magic (Dreyfus Jazz), recorded during a European tour at the end of 2007.
  • 2012: Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Blue Moon, Jazz Village).
  • 2017: Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2019: Released his last album, Ballades (Jazz Village). Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Content Featuring Ahmad Jamal

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