Amazon.com Widgets

Recent Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: Mukashi (Once upon a time)

Read "Mukashi (Once upon a time)" reviewed by

Japan and South Africa were never so close. The acclaimed pianist and flautist Abdullah Ibrahim fused the Asian zen calmness with stories and inspiration from his native homeland in his latest album Mukashi. Mukashi translates in Japanese as “Once upon a time" is a very appropriate title considering Ibrahim's impressive storytelling skills, as well as the visual evocations of the record. “Krotoa" is one of the most interesting tracks of the album and it is split in three. Krotoa is the name of a 17th Century Cape Town young girl from the tribe of the Khoikhoi ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: African Piano

Read "African Piano" reviewed by

Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett are widely thought to have represented ECM Records' initial solo piano forays with Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1 & 2 (1971/1972) and Facing You (1972), respectively, but a lesser-known recording from 1969, unreleased until 1973 on ECM's sister label, JAPO, could be considered its true first. Originally released under Dollar Brand's birth surname as the South African pianist had yet to convert to Islam and become Abdullah Ibrahim, African Piano's reissue as part of ECM's Re:solutions series is now attributed to Ibrahim on the cover, though the liner notes inside remain--somewhat confusingly for those not in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya: Sotho Blue

Read "Sotho Blue" reviewed by

The music of pianist Abdullah Ibrahim has lit up the world, shining brightly in the darkest recesses of the mind for decades. It has sung proud through the apartheid era, helping to clench the fist of protest tighter and the voice of human freedom sing louder. Now that the walls of segregation (at least in South Africa) have come tumbling down, Ibrahim's elementally beautiful melodies have begun to sound more tempered, his husky harmonies more bronzed, glowing with burnished colors. A master of delivering exquisite timbers and aural textures, Ibrahim has created music that has a diaphanous swagger, billowing like ...

INTERVIEWS

Abdullah Ibrahim: Perpetual Change

Read "Abdullah Ibrahim: Perpetual Change"

For legendary pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim, music is always in a state of evolution. This philosophy is common to nearly all great composers, from [pianist] Duke Ellington to [trumpeter] Miles Davis and from [saxophonist] John Coltrane and [pianist] Ahmad Jamal to [guitarist] Bill Frisell. A piece of music is born, it grows and gradually matures but it never withers. And, like the Lesotho mountains, which, in part, inspired Ibrahim to revisit compositions--some of which he penned a quarter of a century ago--there is a timeless quality to Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya's Sotho Blue (Intuition, 2010). A subdued, blue ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya: Sotho Blue

Read "Sotho Blue" reviewed by

The pianist's name was Dollar Brand. He came out of a nascent South African jazz scene in 1959 with The Jazz Epistles, a group that included trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Though his profile has never reached Masekela-like heights--the trumpeter's fame shot sky high with a huge number one pop chart hit in 1968, “Grazin' in the Grass"--Dollar Brand, now known as Abdullah Ibrahim, has been creating vibrant jazz infused with African folk hues and rhythms for more than a half century.On Sotho Blue, Ibrahim, with his mid-sized Ekaya ensemble, revisits a collection of his classic tunes, reinterpreting and revitalizing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya: Sotho Blue

Read "Sotho Blue" reviewed by

Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim's Ekaya is more an expression of the South African's musical philosophy than a fixed combo; musicians have come and gone and his collaborators have changed completely since its inception in 1983. Ekaya is not about personalities, but about music born of South Africa and the Afro-American experience. Speaking of Ekaya, Ibrahim states, “Its center is a universal code; regardless of where you go you remain at home." The septet clearly feels right at home with this reworking of previously recorded material, individually and collectively delivering wonderful performances, subdued in tempo but containing a smoldering passion and deep ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim & The WDR Big Band, Cologne: Bombella

Read "Bombella" reviewed by

The emotion of an Abdullah Ibrahim record can be pleasantly overpowering. Bombella, featuring Cologne's WDR Big Band--arranged and conducted by Steve Gray--overpowers with both passion and majesty. From score to large soundstage, Ibrahim translates his regal persona into some of the most memorable music he has ever written, including African Symphony (Enja/JustinTime, 2001), African Suite (Tiptoe, 2001) and Ekapa Lodumo (Tiptoe, 2001). Although the pianist himself cites Senzo (Sunnyside, 2009) as a wellspring for Bombella, listening to this record is like being hit by an unexpected and glorious weightiness in gold, for it is named after the “Gold train" that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: Senzo

Read "Senzo" reviewed by

On the solo piano Senzo, South African-born pianist Abdullah Ibrahim is heard in fine form on 21 compositions, with Duke Ellington's “In a Sentimental Mood" the only standard in the bunch. Though each track bears a different title, Ibrahim allows the pieces to flow together using creative modulations and segues. On the whole, Senzo further solidifies Ibrahim's reputation as one of the jazz world's master melodists and improvisers. Ibrahim moves from the discordant, free-sounding improvisation of “Ocean and the River," and the joyous, township-jive sounds of “Tookah" and “Banjana, Children of Africa," to the soulful and meditative “Blues for a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: Senzo

Read "Senzo" reviewed by

Any record by Abdullah Ibrahim is always an event to look forward to, often with bated breath as he always turns in something quite breathtaking. Ibrahim has done this with Good News from Africa (Enja, 1973), Water from an Ancient Well (Ekapa/Tiptoe, 1985), the exquisite orchestral work African Suite (Ekapa/Tiptoe, 1998), and several others. The thrilling Senzo can be added to that list. This is a major solo piano suite, comprising 21 individually composed segments, plus a version of Duke Ellington's “In A Sentimental Mood" that is reverently reworked and almost completely unrecognizable, were it not for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: A Celebration

Read "A Celebration" reviewed by

Now entering his eighth decade, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim has been largely responsible for introducing the world to South African jazz and attracting new ears to its warm, reverent tradition, whether from exile or Cape Town. To celebrate his 70th birthday, his 50th year on record, and his 35th anniversary as an Enja Records recording artist, the label has assembled this collection.

As compilations go, this is about as wide-ranging and inclusive as one could reasonably expect from a single label. It includes twelve originals dating from 1973 to 1997, with all players and source recordings identified in the liner notes. ...

AFRICAN JAZZ

Abdullah Ibrahim: A Celebration & Re:Brahim

Read "Abdullah Ibrahim: A Celebration & Re:Brahim"

Now entering his eighth decade, Abdullah Ibrahim has long ago established himself as a true master of jazz--whether in New York, London, Cape Town, or beyond.

The pianist has accomplished two very important things in the last fifty years. First, he has brought South African jazz to the world, recruiting new fans to its characteristically warm, reverent vibe--still taking regular risks to tap into outer realms of spiritual energy, but never far from his roots in bop, classical, and gospel music. He might not have sold as many records as either of his country's other two expatriate superstars, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Abdullah Ibrahim Trio at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Read "Abdullah Ibrahim Trio at the Earshot Jazz Festival"

(One person says) “You see that man over there? He's very talented. He speaks 40 languages!'? (The other replies) “Oh yeah, Well what does he say?'? ~Abdullah Ibrahim (after being asked by an interviewer how many languages he speaks)A man of few words yet full of musical expression, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim recently paid a rare visit to Seattle, “speaking'? to a standing room only audience at On The Boards. Scheduled to give a question and answer discussion about his music before the show, Ibrahim received reportedly tragic family-related news from abroad just before the start of the ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Abdullah Ibrahim: African Magic

Read "Abdullah Ibrahim: African Magic"

Much is made of jazz as the music of African-American experience, one that is sadly pockmarked with racism, prejudice and struggle. These labors give jazz legitimacy and relevance as well as an opportunity for many to say that only jazz' black practitioners are bona fide. The 10th Anniversary of free elections in South Africa is a perfect time to consider the plight of musicians outside of the American experience. The tradition of South African jazz is not a new phenomenon; it stretches back to the '50s when tribal and township music was first fused with hard bop ...

AFRICAN JAZZ

South Africa: Two Abdullah Ibrahim Reissues

Read "South Africa: Two Abdullah Ibrahim Reissues"

Probably the most important member of South Africa's jazz elite, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim certainly wasted no time forging alliances after his 1962 departure from his homeland. Although he hit it off right away with Duke Ellington, for example, resulting in the 1963 date Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio , he has always made a point of keeping his own nuclei intact and often bereft of outright star power. (Note: Dollar Brand was his name until he converted to Islam in 1968.)

The pianist's playing owes obvious debts to Ellington and Monk, reflected in big-picture vision, extended ...



Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Community Members

Join our growing community of
writers, musicians, visual artists and advocates.

Glenn Astarita

Contributor

Glenn Astarita Senior Contributor
Mort Weiss

Musician

Mort Weiss clarinet

Join Us Today!

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.