Celebrated pianist-composer Ahmad Jamal is a jazz legend, known for his innovative rhythms, colorful voicing and elegant dynamics. An NEA Jazz Master and 2017 Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Jamal has been a bright star on the jazz scene for over six decades, influencing generations of artists with his fresh, imaginative sounds.
A native of Pittsburgh, Jamal began playing the piano at age 3, and was composing and orchestrating at 10 years of age, performing works by Franz Liszt and exploring the music of Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Nat Cole, Erroll Garner, and a host of others, learning the repertoire that comprises the American Song Book. He left home at the request of the George Hudson Orchestra (which included Clark Terry and orchestrator Ernie Wilkins) at the age of 17 and began touring the country. He formed his own group in 1951 and with the help of John Hammond started his recording career with Okeh Records. That career has continued for over six decades and has resulted in one of the most successful recordings in the history of instrumental music, Live at The Pershing: But Not for Me. It was used by Clint Eastwood in movie The Bridges of Madison County and was featured prominently in The Wolf of Wall Street.