You Can't Stop Jazz Legend Ahmad Jamal

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Ahmad Jamal. (Courtesy SFJAZZ)

How many pianists from the golden era of jazz are still alive—and still selling out concert halls?

There may be just one: Ahmad Jamal, who, now that Sonny Rollins has retired from performing, is one of the last giants of the 1950s jazz scene still on the road. And he’s always so inventive. If I see one of his records in the bin that I’ve never seen before, I usually give it a shot. Maybe it’ll be his bouncy bop style from the '50s, or a swampy electric piano from the '70s—but he consistently draws me in to his ideas. (A personal favorite? At the Pershing.)

Jamal took a break from performing these past few years, but he obviously couldn't stay away for long. He returns to the stage on Wednesday, June 6, at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Details here.