"I live until he makes another record - all my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal," Miles Davis wrote of the Pittsburgh-born pianist in the 1950s.
The octogenarian genius lives up to Davis's words at this Barbican concert, where he is accompanied by the strident basist Reginal Veal and two Caribbean drummers. Herlin Riley, steeped in the carnivals and parades of New Orleans, is joined by the Puerto Rican Manuel Badrena who employs a range of the percussive and vocal effects which feed his restless musical spirit.
As they play the brilliant balladic miniature Laura, all the the qualities which enraptured Davis are present in a number which lasts a mere three minutes.
The stop-start tension, drama, cadences and crescendoes are strongly present and the same qualities come into play as the quartet tackle Blue Moon, Ain't Misbehavin' and This Is The Life.
There is a zest and playfulness, as if the tunes are toys full of the veterans' wise old humour.
All these numbers plus some Jamal originals are on his compelling 2012 album Blue Moon which, apart from its possible attraction to Manchester City fans, is for the rest of us a thing of beauty, fire, surprise and intense melodism.
Davis was right - Jamal is an inspiration. And at the age of 83 he's still memorably defying the years, the space between them, and the conventional unity of sound.