Acclaimed jazz pianist, composer and band leader Ahmad Jamal has died aged 92, his wife has said.
The cause was prostate cancer, his daughter Sumayah Jamal told the New York Times.
Ahmad Jamal was a lifelong friend of jazz icon Miles Davis and influenced a generation of musicians.
He was know for a sparse playing style – often placing silence between notes – and critics hailed his “less is more dynamics”.
Jamal, who called jazz “American classical music”, said during his life that he liked to honour what he described as the spaces in the music.
He started his seven-decade jazz career as a teenager in the bebop age of virtuosic showmanship – but his style evolved rapidly.
His laid-back approach quickly became influential and commercial success followed with his 1958 album At the Pershing: But Not for Me – one of the best-selling instrumental records of its time.
In a piece written last year to mark the release of some of his unissued recordings, the magazine the New Yorker wrote that in the 1950s, “his musical concept was one of the great innovations of the time, even if its spare, audacious originality was lost on many listeners”.
Jamal’s life long friend, the trumpeter Miles Davis, once said: “All my inspiration comes from Ahmad Jamal.”
In his autobiography, Davis wrote that Jamal “knocked me out with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, his understatement, and the way he phrased notes and chords and passages”.
This was a sentiment echoed by Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, among others.
Even in later decades his influence was evident, with his piano riffs sampled by hip hop artists including Nas and De La Soul.
Jamal won countless awards over his career, including France’s Ordre des Arts and des Lettres in 2007 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
“I’m still evolving, whenever I sit down at the piano,” Jamal said in an interview 2022 with the Times. “I still come up with some fresh ideas.”