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SFJAZZ: Ahmad Jamal 

When: Sat., April 4, 8 p.m. 2009
Price: $20-$75

Nobody plays the blues quite like Ahmad Jamal. The old-school jazz pianist influenced many of his contemporaries, including trumpeter Miles Davis. Jamal is a highly imaginative rhythm player. He knows how to change a melody in subtle ways to make it more interesting -- whether by shifting the accents or protracting the space between notes. He brings depth and sophistication to old standards like "Autumn Leaves" and "It Could Happen to You." His 1958 album Ahmad's Blues is one of the most intelligent jazz albums of all time. And he puts on a terrific show, conducting the band from his piano. Jamal plays San Francisco's Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.) on Saturday, Apr. 4, as part of SFJAZZ Collective's 10th anniversary spring season. 8 p.m., $25-$75. SFJAZZ.org


— Rachel Swan

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