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88-Year-old Ahmad Jamal returns to Symphony Center with his latest project, Marseille

Friday, October 12, at 8 p.m.

Pianist, composer and NEA jazz master Ahmad Jamal opens the 25th season of the Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Jazz series on Friday, October 12, at 8 p.m. Once again in the same city, and 60 years after he recorded At the Pershing: But Not for Me, 88-year-old Jamal continues to share his unique sound with Chicago audiences. The Chicago Tribune hailed Jamal’s 2014 performance on the SCP Jazz series as “sensuously attractive,” “tonally glowing” and “inherently radical.”

For this performance, Jamal brings his nuanced and globally influenced sound to the music of his latest project, Marseille, which The Guardian hailed as “frisky, funny and funky.” Marseille features eclectic audio trinkets and spoken word among Jamal’s colorful tone and controlled phrasing on the piano. Jamal is joined by a rhythm section of bass, drums and percussion.

An award-winning pianist, composer and band- leader, Jamal continues to thrill audiences with his creative energy just as much as he did when his classics Poinciana and But Not For Me became runaway hits in the 1950s. After touring with the George Hudson Orchestra during his teenage years, he formed his own group in 1951 and started recording with Okeh Records.

He is one of the most sampled composers and recording artists in the world, and his music has been prominently featured in films including Clint Eastwood’s “The Bridges of Madison County” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” His accolades include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the NEA Jazz Masters Award and France’s Officier de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres, among others. Jamal has been a Steinway Artist for more than 50 years.

Established in 1994, the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series enters its 25th season with a continued commitment to presenting some of today’s most acclaimed and innovative jazz artists. Since its inception, the series has been carefully curated to celebrate the rich legacy and breadth of jazz through performances by international legends and local talent, partnerships with jazz institutions and talented artists, presentations of new projects through commissions and unique programs created specifically for the series, and by introducing Chicago to rising stars. In addition to performances, the series annually includes educational opportunities for Chicago-area students to both attend performances and learn directly from jazz legends and innovators.

Tickets for all Symphony Center Presents Jazz series concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294-3000, online at or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.

Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, call 312-294-3040.

Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.

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