Getting Away from It All with Ahmad Jamal

by on July 7, 2023 · 4 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Sometimes when
I need to momentarily free
myself from humanity
and all its insanity,
I’ll listen to my man, Ahmad Jamal,
tickle the ivories
as only he can,
with the way|
he can finger the keys
in a tinkling fashion

that’s soft

as a baby’s bottom

and segue, within a beat,

to a more powerful

fingering of the keys,

so deft and sweet,

releasing sounds

that at times

combine a classical flavor

with jazz dripping in funk,

keeping the spirit of

Erroll Garner and Art Tatum alive,

keeping my very soul alive,

as his mellow

dazzling rhythms

allow me to just let go

and follow Ahmad’s flow

like a sailor

riding a gentle ocean wave

on a sailboat

and diving in to take a swim,

riding currents set to the rhythm of

“Poinciana,” perhaps,

stroking and gliding smoothly,

the Latin rhythms and tempos

guiding me soothingly

and refreshingly;

“Autumn Leaves,”

feeling a summer breeze,

as I come up for air

after exploring the clear inviting water

below me,

remembering past loves

whom I missed

the most of all

“When autumn leaves

start to fall;


floating on my back,

looking up at the sky,

envisioning a better life

for East Africans

and humans

in all lands.

And I awaken
from fantasizing
feeling a bit more grand
having been freed for a while
from the likes of
war in Ukraine,
rises in gun violence that’s beyond insane,
affirmative action deactivation,
an ex-president’s trials and tribulations,
queer folks and women losing their human rights
the spewing of “racism-is-over-leading-to-a-colorblind-society” tripe…

Back to the fight.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul July 7, 2023 at 3:38 pm

thank you. A few years back, i first heard ..”Poinciana” live at the pershing, on 88.3… driving along to yoga at 330am.. I was transformed.. had never heard it or of him….but those sweet magical sounds… made me want more… so i had to go figure out who and what that was … and it was him! thank you for writing about this music and thank goodness for those sounds… rock on, as these sounds live on eternal.


Vern July 7, 2023 at 8:36 pm
Thomas L Gayton July 8, 2023 at 11:21 am

Right On! Dig It!


BARBARA LEWIS July 8, 2023 at 6:33 pm

Thank you for reminding me of the days when I too was enraptured by Mr. Jamal….I will certainly revisit the feeling.


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