According to his widow, renowned jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader, Ahmad Jamal passed away at the age of 92.
According to his daughter Sumayah Jamal, the cause was prostate cancer.
Ahmad Jamal was a longstanding friend of jazz legend Miles Davis and had a profound impact on a generation of musicians.
Critics praised his “less is more” dynamics, praising his minimalist playing style in which he frequently left silence between notes.
Jamal, who referred to jazz as “American classical music,” stated throughout his life that he appreciated the intervals in the music.
He began his seven-decade jazz career as an adolescent during the era of virtuosic showmanship known as bebop, but his style quickly evolved.
The commercial success of his 1958 album At the Pershing: But Not for Me, which was one of the best-selling instrumental albums of the era, followed his laid-back approach.
In an article published last year to commemorate the release of some of his unissued recordings, the New Yorker stated that in the 1950s, “his musical concept was one of the greatest innovations of the time, even if its spare, audacious originality was lost on many listeners”
The trumpeter and lifelong friend of Jamal, Miles Davis, once stated, “All of my inspiration comes from Ahmad Jamal.”
Davis wrote in his autobiography that Jamal “stunned me with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, his subtlety, and the way he phrased notes, chords, and passages.”
Others, including Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, shared this opinion.
Even in later decades, his influence was evident, as hip-hop artists such as Nas and De La Soul sampled his piano melodies.
Jamal has garnered numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2007 Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the 2017 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In a 2022 interview with the Times, Jamal stated, “Every time I sit down at the piano, I’m still evolving.” “I continue to generate new ideas.”