Music: Syncopated Silence

"I'd love to have a little boy," says Trumpeter Miles Davis, "with red hair, green eyes and a black face—who plays piano like Ahmad Jamal." Trumpeter Davis is one of the more fervent admirers of the pianist whose group is currently the hottest trio in jazz. Its leader is neither red-haired nor green-eyed—but the spell he casts on his faithful followers, including many a fellow jazzman, sometimes suggests the arrival of the first Martian from outer space.

Ahmad's five Argo albums have sold well, and one of his most recent, Jamal at the Pershing,...

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