Archive for the Abdullah IBRAHIM Category

Buddy TATE Meets Abdullah IBRAHIM – The Legendary Encounter 1977

Posted in Abdullah IBRAHIM, Buddy TATE, JAZZ on December 21, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Buddy TATE Meets Abdullah IBRAHIM – The Legendary Encounter 1977
Recorded at Downtown Sound, New York City, 25. 8. 1977
1996 Issue.


Initially a meeting between swing tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate and post-bop pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (still widely known as Dollar Brand in 1977 when this CD was recorded), this seems like a possible misfire. Instead, it proves to be an inspiration, as each player taught the other new music and they successfully blended their disparate jazz backgrounds into one outstanding album. The first track, “Goduka Mfundi,” is particularly interesting; it’s an original by Ibrahim that Tate and the rhythm section (drummer Roy Brooks and bassist Cecil McBee) had just learned prior to recording it, and the composer sits out this hypnotic African groove tune. The pianist’s other original is the tasty blues “Heyt Mazurki.” Tate’s quick tutoring of Ibrahim also pays off huge dividends, as “Doggin’ Around” is the most smoking performance of the date, while “Just You, Just Me” proves to be a unique mix of swing and African jazz. The remaining two quartet tracks are familiar turf to all parties. Tate’s soulful tone recalls Ben Webster in “Poor Butterfly,” though Ibrahim clearly steals the show with his well-disguised, dreamy introduction to Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.” At this point Tate had to leave for a gig, and the date was completed as a trio. “Shrimp Boats,” a piece that Ibrahim recorded on several different occasions, is slow to develop but a very infectious chant-like work. The pianist actual chants along with the almost Middle Eastern-sounding introduction that eventually unfolds into John Lewis’ well-known “Django”; in fact, this ten-plus minute piece is nearly over by the time they segue into its theme, following McBee’s terrific arco bass solo and Brooks’ superb drum solo. It’s a shame there wasn’t an encore meeting between Ibrahim and Tate following the making of this memorable disc.
By Ken Dryden. AMG.
Who would have thought that Buddy Tate and Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) would record together someday ? Buddy Tate (1913-2001),a tenor sax master from the swing era, was a member of Count Basie’s orchestra at the end of the thirties,and remained active in music after he turned 80 years old. Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (born October 9,1934 in South Africa),was discovered by Duke Ellington.Duke even produced his first recording session, on the Reprise label (at that time,Abdullah was known as Dollar Brand),and also produced a record of Dollar’s wife,singer Sathima Bea Benjamin.Then,Abdullah recorded several masterpieces,mostly in solo piano (“anthem for the new nations” on Denon,”ode to Duke Ellington” and “memories” on West Wind,”african piano” on ECM,”anatomy of a south african village” on Black Lion,and many others.
In 1977,producer Hank O’Neal had the crazy idea of inviting Dollar and Buddy to record together.This was the idea: Abdullah would teach Buddy some of his tunes (“Goduka Mfundi” and “Heyt Mazurki”),Buddy would teach Abdullah some of his (“doggin’ around” and “just you,just me”), and a pair of standards would complete the session (“poor butterfly” and Duke’s “in a sentimental mood”).Bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Brooks were hired for the session;they both recorded with Abdullah for Enja a few months before.Buddy Tate’s playing is great,he really feels at home, and Abdullah’s solos on standards is interesting to discover.After the first six tracks were taped,Buddy had to leave because he was playing at the Crawdaddy Club,NYC,so the trio recorded two more tracks which didn’t appear on the original LP.”shrimp boats”, a Randy Weston original, sounds very african.”Django”, of course, is John Lewis’ masterpiece, a tune dedicated to french gipsy guitar player, Django Reinhardt.After a haunting ad-lib introduction,with only drums,bass and voice (Abdullah’s ?),the trio goes into a Coltrane-like exploration of the theme,without playing it.Abdullah’s playing is very reminiscent of McCoy Tyner’s,not based on the melody of the tune but only on the chords.THis is a very interesting meeting of two masters who maybe would never had the opportunity of playing together.And another marvel from Chiaroscuro,a label who commited some great records in the 70’s.
Buddy Tate- (Saxophone);
Abdullah Ibrahim- (Piano);
Cecil McBee- (Bass);
Roy Brooks- (Drums).
01. Goduka Mfundi (Going Home) (A. Ibrahim) (7:15)
02. Heyt Mazurki (A. Ibrahim) (6:52)
03. Poor Butterfly (R. Hubbell – J. Golden) (8:30)
04. In A Sentimental Mood (D. Ellington – M. Kurtz – I. Mills) (7:30)
05. Doggin’ Around (H. Evans – E. Battle) (4:38)
06. Just You, Just Me (J. Greer – R. Klages) (7:25)
07. Shrimp Boats (P. Weston – P. Howard) (7:25)
08. Django (J. Lewis) (10:35)
Continue reading


Abdullah IBRAHIM – No Fear, No Die 1990

Posted in Abdullah IBRAHIM, JAZZ on December 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Abdullah IBRAHIM – No Fear, No Die 1990
Soundtrack (S’en Fout La Mort)


Abdullah Ibrahim has written the soundtracks for a number of films, including the award winning Chocolat and, more recently, No Fear, No Die.[1] Since the end of apartheid, he has lived in Cape Town, and now divides his time between his global concert circuit, New York, and South Africa.
Claire Denis’ astonishing film begins as a troubling study of organized cockfighting, an activity common in the West Indies and many Caribbean communities abroad. Two black men living in France make a deal with a small-time French gangster to supply cocks for prize bouts in the bowels of a sleazy truck stop restaurant complex in the outskirts of Paris. A claustrophobic world which explodes when a favorite bird is blinded — with disastrous consequences for all. More than a look at a blood sport sub-culture, the films reveals itself as an uncompromising account of modern black man’s alienation. Imbued with taut emotional power, Abdullah Ibrahim’s music supports the film with an indelible naturalism which has long been Ibrahim’s trademark.

Ibrahim’s score for Claire Denis’s movie about cockfighting and black alienation might be the best jazz soundtrack since ‘Anatomy of a Murder.’
Abdullah Ibrahim- Piano, Compositions
Ricky Ford- Tenor Sax, Flute
Howard Alexander Young- Soprano & Alto Sax
Frank Lacy- Trombone
Jimmy Coezier- Baritone Sax
Buster Williams- Bass
Ben Riley- Drums
01. Calypso Minor 4:59
02. Angelica 6:29
03. Meditation II 3:38
04. Nisa 12:24
05. Kata 7:48
06. Meditation I 5:11
07. Calypso Major 5:02

Continue reading

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Blues for a Hip King 1989

Posted in Abdullah IBRAHIM, JAZZ on December 13, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Blues for a Hip King 1989


This marvellous album from Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) is as good way as any to start listening to this great South African Jazz Pianist.

Listen to ‘Sweet Basil Blues’, its instantly catchy and it sounds very simple (probably fiendishly difficult actually!), and it certainly has a blues influence. All of Abdullah’s self-penned tracks are like this. The musicians playing with him are of all of the highest quality, amongst the better known are Blue Mitchell and Basil Coetzee.

Abdullah actually stood in for Duke Ellington in the early 60’s, and his influence and Monk’s can certainly be heard in his Piano playing. On a few tracks here Abdullah gives a nod to that American influence, playing covers of two Monk tunes, and some of his own compositions are clearly Monk/Ellington inspired. Its also worth mentioning the opening track ‘Ornette’s Cornet’ which I believe is a reference to Ornette Coleman.

These tracks are a mixture of trio and sextet tracks and I strongly recommend the album.
By S.J. Buck.
01 Ornette’s Cornet   5:24
02 All Day & All Night Long   5:28
03 Sweet Basil Blues   6:22
04 Blue Monk   6:06
05 Tsakwe Here Comes the Postman   11:46
06 Blues for a Hip King   9:47
07 Blues for B   3:28
08 Mysterioso   4:42
09 Just You, Just Me   4:59
10 Eclipse at Dawn   4:03
11 King Kong   5:25
12 Khumbula Jane   5:55

Continue reading

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Ode to Duke Ellington 1973

Posted in Abdullah IBRAHIM, JAZZ on November 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Ode to Duke Ellington 1973
1995 Issue

Duke Ellington has long been one of Abdullah Ibrahim’s main inspirations, along with South African folk music, religious themes and Thelonious Monk. Ibrahim has paid tribute to Duke many times throughout his career. This European CD is a relaxed and thoughtful solo set in which the pianist improvises impressionistic medleys, sometimes mixing in a few of his themes with Ellington’s music. Such Duke-associated tunes as “Caravan,” “Solitude,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Come Sunday,” “Duke’s Place” and “Drop Me Off In Harlem” are a few of the Ellington pieces that pop up in spots. An interesting and somewhat introspective (if ultimately joyful) recital of reverent music.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
Recorded December 12, 1973 at Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
6 – a) From Africa: Saduva, b) From America: Come Sunday
7 – a) A Single Petal Of A Rose b) I Got It Bad c) Drop Me Off In Harlem
01. Impressions On A Caravan 5:10
02. Solitude 4:22
03. Ode To Duke 5:10
04. In A Sentimental Mood 4:27
05. What Really Happened In The Cornfields Is That The Birds Made Music All The Day And So I Let A Song Go Out Of     My Heart At Duke’s Place.T  6:33
06. Two Spirituals 6:31
07. Rose Got It Bad In Harlem 5:57

Continue reading

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Duke Ellington Presents The Dollar Brand Trio 1963

Posted in Abdullah IBRAHIM, JAZZ on November 22, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Duke Ellington Presents The Dollar Brand Trio 1963
R 6111


Black History Month at HurdAudio takes a spin of Abdullah Ibrahim’s debut recording from 1963 – back when he went by the name of Dollar Brand – Duke Ellington Presents The Dollar Brand Trio.

“Dollar’s Dance” opens with a great hook on the piano as the ears open up to a great piano trio in action. It is immediately apparent what caught the Duke’s attention when he heard this trio playing at a club in Zurich and immediately agreed to produce three recordings and heavily promote this sensational pianist from South Africa. This trio is fantastic. The bass solo on this track is dead on and the overall sound is such a great balance between these three players and their big-ear interactions together. I’m struck by the rhythmic approach on the piano and the choice of harmonies that puncture the texture and occasionally move in parallel lines.

The liner notes provide no clue to the identity of two-thirds of this excellent trio. With a little digging around online I learn that this bassist is Johnny Gertze and the drummer is Makaya Ntshoko.

“Kippi” switches gears as a ballad. Here the focus in on the melodic line that is lovingly supported by a restrained trio along with some artfully arranged harmonies. This brief number has a wonderful conclusion as a well-crafted chord that spans the wide registers of the piano is allowed to decay naturally.

“Brilliant Corners” by Thelonius Monk is the lone non-Dollar Brand composition on this collection. The melodic bends and harmonic quirks of Monk are a natural fit for Abdullah Ibrahim both as a composer and pianist/interpreter. This is another track that allows a glimpse at the creative prowess of Gertze on the bass as he rips out another great solo on this one. This arrangement sticks close to the overall form and chord changes of this familiar standard. The brief flashes of double-time are incredibly cool.

“Jumping Rope” skips along, propelled by Ibrahim’s deft navigation of some rapid chord changes before swirling around into a steady groove for some deeply laid back improvising. He packs a lot of surprising twists and turns over a steady cyclical chord sequence. This track is far, far too short. The Gertze bass solo seems to just get started before things swing into a coda.

“Ubu Suku” begins with piano alone as Ibrahim unfolds a melody and interjects increasing degrees of harmonic and rhythmic divergences into it until the trio eventually joins in. The texture alternates between smooth passages of linear melody juxtaposed against short doses of repeated sequences. This track is my personal favorite from this collection. There’s a great sense of contrast at work in this one compositionally and it feels less abridged than the rest of the offerings on this disc.

“The Stride” closes out this listening experience with an up-tempo groove that seems to keep rolling over on top of itself. Ntshoko’s drum work catches my ear on this one – even before his solo. This was a great trio and they really fused together on this track.

Compared to the records that Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibrahim would later record this one is a modest introduction to a great talent that really deserves more attention.
Johnny Gertze- (Bass),
Abdullah Ibrahim- (Piano)
Makaya Ntshoko- (Drums)
A1.Dollar’s Dance  (5:09)
A2.Kippi  (4:04)
A3.Brilliant Corners  (6:49)
B1.Jumping Rope  (4:07)
B2.Ubu Suku  (8:01)
B3.The Stride  (5:00)

Continue reading

Abdullah IBRAHIM – Knysna Blue 1993

Posted in Abdullah IBRAHIM, JAZZ on November 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

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


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.
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.
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.
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.
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

Continue reading