Ahmad Jamal Died at 92! Bio | Children and Net Worth | Albums

Ahmad Jamal was popular as an American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator. His dedication to Jazz for more than 6 decades made him occupy the place of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz.

He gained more popularity after winning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master.

Early Life of Ahmad Jamal

On July 2, 1930, Ahmad Jamal was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. As of 2023, he was 93 years old. His real name was Frederick Russell Jones. His birth sign was Cancer and he used to cut his birthday cake on the 2nd of July. He was born as the son of Robert Smith Jones (father) and Lottie Jones (mother).

By nationality, he had citizenship of the United States and belongs to mixed ethnicity. He used to Islam religion. Ahmad joined George Westinghouse High School. In 1948, he graduated from high school. Jamal was only 7 when he began piano lessons with Mary Cardwell.

Frederick Russell Jones Changed His Name To Ahmad Jamal

He was born into a Baptist family. But, when was touring the Muslim community, he discovered the Islam religion. His interest in Islam and Islamic culture made him change his name from Frederick Russell Jones to Ahmad Jamal. Then, he started believing in the Islam religion. He revealed his name change decision to NY Times by:

“re-establish my original name and say Muslim prayers five times a day and arises in time to say his first prayers at 5 am. He says them in Arabic in keeping with the Muslim tradition.”

Ahmad Jamal was Married Thrice

Jamal got married three times in his life. He was previously married to Laura Hess Hay. Laura was his third wife and she is serving as his manager. He walked down the aisle with Laura in presence of their close ones in 1982.  They stayed together for some years and got divorced.

Caption: Ahmad with his ex-wife (Source: Gh base)

In the 1950s, he got married to his first wife. His first marriage ended in 1962. Due to this, he was even hospitalized after having an apparent overdose in 1963. His second wife’s name is Sharifah Frazier. They were married to each other for a very short period of time.

Ahmad Jamal Blessed With Four Children

Ahmad is a father of four children. In 1979, his first daughter Mumeenah Counts died. Counts were born from his first marriage. Muminah was murdered and left this world. He and his second ex-wife, Sharifah gave birth to a daughter named Sumayah Jamal. He was also the grandfather of two grandchildren from Sumayah.

Caption: Ahmad with his daughter (Source: Pittsburgh Newswire)

Ahmad Jamal’s Net Worth & Salary

His net worth was $5 million at the time of his death. This was the income from his career as an American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator. As a singer, he had an annual salary of $93k.

Caption: Ahmad with his piano (Source: Getty Images)

Ahmad Jamal’s Death

On April 16, 2023, Ahmad breathe for the very last time. He was only 92 years old at the time of his death. He died due to Prostate cancer in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts. His daughter released his death news. Then, BBC posted the news of his death:

“Ahmad Jamal dies at 92: Acclaimed jazz pianist who influenced Miles Davis.”

Musical Career of Ahmad Jamal

  • Ahmad was an American jazz pianist and bandleader.
  • He started playing piano when he was only three years old.
  • Ahmad got inspired when he saw his uncle, Lawerence playing piano.
  • He was only 14 years old when he was discovered by the pianist Art Tatum.
  • After graduating from high school, he appeared on a tour with George Hudson’s Orchestra.
  • He was also part of another group/band named The Four Strings.
  • He recorded his first album titled, Ahmad Jamal Plays in 1995.
Caption: Ahmad on the frame (Source: Getty Images)
  • Later, he even got the opportunity to perform with musicians Von Freeman and Claude McLin in 1950.
  • In 1951, he recorded his first record with The Three Strings in association with the Okeh label.
  • Then, he recorded with Parrot and Epic in 1953 and 1955 respectively.
  • As a band leader, he recorded a song named The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal with Epic label from 1951 to 1955.
  • In 1958, he recorded with Argo for a song named At the Pershing.
  • He was successful in earning the name Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts in the year 1994.

Songs & Albums

His first song is Cry Young which he recorded with Cadet in 1967. In 1968, he recorded his next song, The Bright, with record the Blue and the Beautiful Cadet. Some of his popular songs are Poinciana, l love music, Ahmad’s Blues, Autumn Leaves, m*a*s*h theme,  and Swahililand. He also released l soul girl, Marseille, Darn That Dream, April in Pairs, and Mo greater love.

His albums are Ahmad Jamal Trio, Count ‘Em 88, Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing, Vol. 2, Ahmad’s Blues, At the Pershing: But Not for Me, The Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal, and so on.

Awards and Honors

  • In 1959, he won Entertainment Award for the category of Pittsburgh Junior Chamber of Commerce.
  • He got awarded with Distinguished Service Award by the City of Washington D.C. in 1980.
  • In 1987, he was awarded by the Philippines Jazz Foundation as Honorary Membership.

FAQs of Ahmad Jamal

Who was Ahmad Jamal’s drummer?

Vernel Anthony Fournier was Ahmad’s drummer. He died on November 4, 2000, and was one of the most popular American jazz drummers from 1956 to 1962.

Who played bass for Ahmad Jamal?

James Alfred Conrad Cammack Jr. played bass for Ahmad Jamal. James was from Cornwall, New York, and he used to play bass for him until his death.

Did Ahmad Jamal write suicide is painless?

Yes, he wrote and sang the song name Suicide is Painless. The song was released in 1970. He released it under the album named, M*A*S*H.

Where did Ahmad Jamal live?

He used to live in his house in Berkshires, Massachusetts. Even though he stopped touring, he was still recording his songs until his death.

When did Ahmad Jamal perform for the last time?

His last live performance was at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. In February 2020, he performed and even shared his love for his instrument saying:

“When I pass a piano anywhere, I have to touch it or play it. The reward of being a musician is not money. It’s the wonderful, indescribable feeling of knowing you’re performing at your highest level. It’s a spiritual feeling. You can always make money. But you can’t always latch onto your own spirit. Maybe these moments represent the ultimate freedom.”