Text Box: JAZZ autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541


Price: $175.00



Autographed 8” x 10” vintage publicity photograph, c. late 1950’s.

Jamal (1930 -     ) is one of the cutting edge jazz pianists who helped to shape what became “cool jazz”.  Despite Miles Davis receiving the lion share of the credit today, he was a fan of Jamal’s style of performance and thought of Jamal as an innovator and teacher using his style in his music throughout the rest of his life and even performing Jamal’s works in concert.

The pianist was born in Pittsburgh and began to play the piano at the age of three.  He was sent to the local pianist James Miller and the founder of the National Negro Opera, Mary Caldwell Dawson. By seven he was considered a child prodigy and began making a living as a jazz pianist at the age of eleven.  During his high school year, he played with the K-Dets.  He dropped out of high school in 1947 to join George Hudson’s St. Louis based jazz orchestra. On a tour in Detroit he began to study Islam and changed his name to Ahmad Jamal in 1950. The following year, he put together his first trio, Ahmad Jamal and The Three Strings with guitarist Ray Crawford and initially bassist Eddie Calhoun who left after a year and Israel Cosby in Chicago. They began playing the Blue Note there and with word of mouth and some help from jazz record producer John Hammond, he wound up in New York City playing at East Side midtown jazz club The Embers.  He was asked to play in the two night celebration for Duke Ellington’s 25th year in show business on November 14th and 15th, 1952 along with Ellington, Billie Holliday, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker and other jazz luminaries. (He would play the hall 7 times through 2003.)

Jamal made his first recording with Hammond’s help in 1951, “The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal” with the Trio. He would put out four more records until 1958, when he issued with the Trio, “At the Pershing, But Not For Me” which was an immediate hit and has become his most popular record.  He has released 69 records, as lead artist, mostly in trio form, both studio and live through 2019.  The Three Strings disbanded in 1962, however, his trio format remained fairly constant.

The most interesting musical relationship of Jamal’s career was his friendship with Miles Davis.  Davis first heard Jamal in his “At the Pershing” record and was convinced the pianist was onto something new with his fleet of finger performance and the influence of modal jazz in some of the works.  While the two never performed in concert, they became friends and often discussed techniques that Davis borrowed in his cool jazz.  Davis performed two of Jamal’s works, “Ahmad’s Blues” and “New Rhumba” were regularly featured in Davis concerts throughout his life.  Davis and Evans also used the influence of Jamal’s version of “Surrey With The Fringe On Top” and “Ahmad’s Blues” in his works, “Kind Of Blues” and “Impressions”.

Jamal today at ninety two is a living legend, even surviving covid last year before vaccines became available.  He discusses his longevity due to the clean living within Islam and the fact he did not fall prey to the drugs on the streets of Manhattan like his heroes Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. 

Uncommon this early.