Abdullah IBRAHIM – Knysna Blue 1993

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Knysna Blue 1993
Recorded at Capetown, South Africa (09/1993-10/1993).

Jazz

Abdullah Ibrahim (born 9 October 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa),formerly known as Adolph Johannes Brand, and as Dollar Brand, is a South African pianist and composer. His music reflects many of the musical influences of his childhood in the multicultural port areas of Cape Town, ranging from traditional African songs to the gospel of the AME Church and ragas, to more modern jazz and other Western styles. Within jazz, his music particularly reflects the influence of Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. With his wife, the jazz singer Sathima Bea Benjamin, he is father to the New York underground rapper Jean Grae, as well as to a son, Tsakwe.
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Recorded in Cape Town, with Ibrahim playing everything – including some wonderful soprano saxophone – this is the fruit of his return to South Africa from 30 years in exile, with music and lyrics focused on both the celebration, and the sadness and sense of loss, that the homecoming has engendered. As such it’s a major work and one fans will treasure, particularly for the frequency with which the famous Ibrahim singing voice is heard. This noble sound, half-whisper, half-croak, was one of the most moving and accusing sounds of the anti-apartheid movement. It’s heard on the haunting title-track (on which the occasional karaoke-like textures of the electronic percussion take some getting used to), a kind of talking blues, and on the beautiful and corny ‘Cape Town’, which must surely serve as that city’s theme tune.
By Phil Johnson.
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After decades of self-exile, pianistcomposerbandleader Abdullah Ibrahim finally had an opportunity to return to his native South Africa in the early 1990s. This solo CD was recorded at Cape Town and has seven of his themes, all of which reflect his heritage; in addition, Ibrahim performs Thelonious Monk’s Ask Me Now. An excellent effort that must have been an emotional experience for the unique and masterful Abdullah Ibrahim.
By Scott Yanow, AMG.
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Capetown-born Abdullah Ibrahim, formerly known as Dollar Brand, started his professional career as a pianist when he was 14 years old. While his trio toured Europe in 1962, he gained the attention of Duke Ellington who was eager to produce Abdullah’s American recording debut. After winning the Down Beat Critics’ Poll (TDWR) in 1975, Abdullah Ibrahim did a long series of successful recordings that established him as the most prolific representent of the world music and ethno-jazz movement.

Produced in Capetown, South Africa, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest recording reflects the artist’s return to his native country. Depicting the decades of traumatic experiences in South Africa, the title song “Knysna Blue” is a nearly 16-minute scene based on African popular music. Other titles refer to South African cities and landscapes, going even back to the 1960’s, and show a great variety of sounds, feelings and instrumentations. All compositions on “Knysna Blue” were written by Abdullah Ibrahim himself except the piano solo “Ask Me Now” which was composed by Thelonious Monk, one of the great masters he was influenced by in his early years. “Knysna Blue” is an important document of a great musician’s state of art as all instruments are played by Abdullah Ibrahim himself.
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01. Knysna Blue- Ibrahim 15:42
02. You Can’t Stop Me Now- Ibrahim 5:31
03. Peace- Ibrahim 3:53
04. Three, No. 1- Ibrahim 3:09
05. Kofifi- Ibrahim 2:47
06. Three, No. 2- Ibrahim 2:56
07. Cape Town- Ibrahim 6:29
08. Ask Me Now- Monk 2:58
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