Ahmad Jamal, the Pittsburgh-born jazz pianist known for introducing the world to a softer side of bebop, has passed away at the age of 92.
He died on Sunday (April 16) at his home in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, after succumbing to prostate cancer, his daughter, Sumayah Jamal, confirmed to The New York Times.
Renowned for his supremely delicate touch, Jamal developed a distinctive playing style that combined sparkling melodies with dreamy, gossamer chords. Compared to flamboyantly virtuosic modern jazz contemporaries like Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson, he preferred a more understated approach, building drama by inserting pauses between his melodic phrases and through contrasts in volume and coloration. It was a style that had a profound influence on the work of jazz trumpeter and friend Miles Davis. “He knocked me out with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, and the way he phrased notes and chords and passages,” Davis wrote in his 1988 memoir Miles: The Autobiography.
Although he released nearly 70 albums during his seven-decade career, Jamal is best remembered for one LP in particular: At The Pershing: But Not For Me, a live album full of lush ballads and lightly swinging grooves he recorded with his…