Ahmad Jamal declares his love for Marseille

Published on June 07, 2017
  • Ahmad Jamal and his piano in his New-York house

    Jamel Ahmad - © J-M Lubrano

    Ahmad Jamal and his piano in his New-York house

    Jamel Ahmad - © J-M Lubrano

  • The album Marseille

    The album Marseille

    The album Marseille

    The album Marseille

Ahmad Jamal declares his love for Marseille marseille fr

The legendary American Jazz pianist has composed an opus in the form of a love letter to Marseille. An eponymous album which marks a new stage in the mutual admiration that Ahmad Jamal and the French audience have for one another. A breakdown of the love affair between the Jazz musician and the Phocaean city...

It is his music which is the best at doing the talking. When Ahmad Jamal declares his love, he doesn't do things by halves. This is good, as Marseille isn't a city that likes half measures. You need to let Marseille, the piece dedicated to the Phocaean city by this great jazz pianist, carry you away, like the culmination of a relationship which has lasted for 60 years.

Marseille, your voice keeps calling me

At 86, the American artist, distinguished as a Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres, is making the most of it to get stuck into a new challenge: it is the first time that he has put words to his music, as though the pure emotion of the notes was not enough...

Marseille, I often walk your streets alone / And then, too often I am gone / Marseille, my lonely heart needs your caress / My life, is full of deep regret / Your sun, is unrelenting till it sets / Marseille, your voice keeps calling me / Marseille, Marseille lives on eternally / Marseille, your many monuments abound / Mysteries, beyond the human mind / Marseille, I never, ever, can regret / Blessed be, the moment that we met

The flow of Abd Al Malik the slam artist

The melancholy is apparent, as is the implacable attraction, of a magnetic city, a loving city. It is a real love letter to the emblematic capital of the south of France. Anyone who has stood in the port facing the deep blue of the Mediterranean sea and has allowed the light, so pure at the zenith, to encircle them, crystal clear at daybreak and welcoming at sunset, will find their own ode to the city in the Marseille album.

You will choose, in turns, to identify with one of the three versions of the piece, the first, instrumental and masterful, and its vocal versions. One is sung by the French slam artist Abd Al Malik, who adds his flow to the syncopated notes of the American Jazz artist. The other version with vocals ends the album with the vocal acrobatics of Mina Agossi, who has translated the words written in English by Ahmad Jamal into French.

In concert in Marseille and Vienna

Two performances have already wowed those lucky enough to be there at the global preview performed at Jazz in Marciac in August 2016. If you have missed this great jazz experience, after the album comes out on 9th June there will be two concerts in the Opéra de Marseille as part of the Marseille Jazz des Cinq Continents (Marseille Jazz from the Five Continents) Festival on 12th and 13th June 2017; then at the Théâtre Antique as part of the Vienna Jazz Festival on 30th June 2017.

There you will, for example, rediscover Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma) and the luxurious harmonies of Ahmad Jamal which feed into the melancholy... After Blue Moon and Saturday Morning, the Marseille album proves, if it were required, that the master remains at the height of his creative power...

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