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Today we’re listening to Ahmad Jamal, an American jazz pianist and bandleader from Pittsburgh. Jamal, whom we first recommended in May 2021, passed away on Sunday at age 92.1 At age 3, Jamal figured out how to copy his uncle Lawrence’s piano playing by ear.2 He grew up with the piano and developed an idiosyncratic, versatile style of playing that leaned into the piano as a percussive instrument. In the ‘50s his jazz group didn’t have a drummer, baffling Miles Davis who sent his rhythm section to Jamal’s shows to take notes. First up today is the Ahmad Jamal Trio’s landmark 1970 record, The Awakening, which includes “I Love Music,” the gateway drug through which many of us were introduced to Jamal.3 We’re also playing his 1951 record, Poinciana, whose title track would later chart and remain there for 108 weeks.4 Lastly we’re playing the 8-hour box set Trio Argo Sessions, whose second disc contains “arguably the greatest live jazz recording ever made,” says All About Jazz.