Ahmad Jamal: What Is This Thing Called Love


What Is This Thing Called Love


Ahmad Jamal (piano)


Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (Chess 051 813-2)

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Ahmad Jamal (piano),

Israel Crosby (bass), Vernell Fournier (drums)


Composed by Cole Porter


Recorded: live at The Alhambra, Chicago, July 1961


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

At the club he then owned, Jamal and his partners give one of their classic performances of the late '50s and early '60s, maintaining constant suspense with a song everybody knows by heart. First, they don't clearly quote the melody before one minute, after having circled it in many ways. Then they carry on this hide-and-seek game until there's no resting place for the ears of those who've grasped that anything can happen at any moment. This trio is a real orchestra, and Jamal acts as an arranger. Or should one say a stage director, who dispatches sound effects. Who could believe that in those days some called Jamal a lounge pianist?

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum

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