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Abdullah Ibrahim

The melodic sounds of South Africa are fused with the improvisation of jazz and the technical proficiency of classical music by South Africa-born pianist Dollar Brand or, as he's called himself since converting to Islam in 1968, Abdullah Ibrahim. Since attracting international acclaim as a member of the Jazz Epistles, one of South Africa's first jazz bands, Ibrahim has continued to explore new ground with his imaginative playing. Exposed to a variety of music as a youngster, including traditional African music, religious songs, and jazz, Ibrahim began studying piano at the age of seven. Becoming a professional musician in 1949, he performed with such South African groups as the Tuxedo Slickers and the Willie Max Big Band. Ten years later, he joined the Jazz Epistles, a group featuring trumpet player Hugh Masekela and alto saxophonist Kippi Moeketsi. The band, which had been formed in 1959 by American pianist John Mehegan for a recording session, Jazz in Africa, had recorded the first jazz album by South African musicians.

In 1962, Ibrahim left South Africa with vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin; the two were married in 1965, and temporarily settled in Zurich. Performing with his trio, which featured bassist Johnny Gertze and drummer Makaya Ntshoko, Ibrahim was heard by Duke Ellington at the Africana Club. Ellington was so impressed that he arranged a recording session for Ibrahim and the trio. The resulting album, Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio, was released on the Reprise label in 1963. He continued to be supported by Ellington following the album's release. In addition to being booked to play (at Ellington's urging) at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965, Ibrahim served as Ellington's substitute and performed five shows with the Ellington Orchestra the following year. Shortly afterwards, he disbanded the trio and accepted an invitation to join Elvin Jones' quartet. The collaboration with Jones lasted six months. After leaving the Jones quartet, he continued to be involved with a variety of projects. Besides touring as a soloist in 1968, he worked with bands led by Don Cherry and Gato Barbieri. Briefly returning to South Africa in 1976, Ibrahim settled in New York the same year. Although he returned to South Africa to live in 1990, he continued to divide his time between his birthplace and his adopted home in New York.

In 1997, Ibrahim collaborated on an album and tour with jazz drummer Max Roach. The following year, Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder arranged several of his compositions for a 22-piece orchestra for a Swiss television production, and for a world tour undertaken by the full-sized Munich Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Barbara Yahr of the United States. Ibrahim continued to perform and record for the remainder of the 1990s and throughout the 2000s, releasing such notable albums as African Suite (1999, Enja), Cape Town Revisited (2000, Enja; recorded in 1997), Ekapa Lodumo (2001, Enja/Tiptoe), African Magic (2003, Enja/Justin Time), Senzo (2008, Sunnyside), and Bombella (2009, Intuition). Ibrahim has also composed the scores for such films as Chocolat and No Fear No Die. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Mukashi - Once Upon A Time

1. Mukashi

2. Dream Time

3. The Stars Will Remember

4. Serenity

5. Mississippi

6. Peace

7. Matzikama

8. Cara Mia

9. Root

10. Trace Elements For Monk

11. Krotoa - Crystal Clear

12. Krotoa - Devotion

13. Krotoa - Endurance

14. In The Evening

15. Essence

16. The Balance

x

Track List: Senzo

1. Ocean & The River I

2. In The Evening

3. Blues For Bea

4. Prelude 'for Coltrane'

5. Aspen

6. Blues For A Hip King

7. Third Line Samba

8. Too-Kah

9. Pula

10. For Coltrane

11. Dust

12. Corridors Radiant

13. Jabulani

14. Dust (Reprise)

15. Nisa

16. Contours And Time

17. Mummy

18. Banyana, Children Of Africa

19. Mamma

20. Blue Bolero

21. In A Sentimental Mood

22. Ocean & The River II

x

Track List: Cape Town Revisited

1. Damara Blue

2. Someday Soon Sweet Samba

3. Cape Town To Congo Square - 1st Movement - African Street Parade

4. Cape Town To Congo Square - 2nd Movement - District Six Carnival

5. Song For Sathima

6. Cape Town To Congo Square - 3nd Movement - Too-Kah

7. Tintinyana

8. Tuang Guru

9. Eleventh Hour

10. Water From An Ancient Well

11. Tsakwe - Royal Blue

12. Soweto

13. The Mountain

14. The Wedding

15. Barakaat (The Blessing)

x

Track List: African Suite

1. Mindif

2. Ishmael

3. Tsakwe

4. The Call

5. Damara Blue

6. The Wedding

7. Blanton

8. Aspen

9. Barakaat

10. Tintinyana

11. The Mountain Of The Night

x

Track List: Voice Of Africa

x

Track List: Fats, Duke & The Monk

1. Salaam Peace

2. Fats Duke & The Monk

3. African Portraits

Comments

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He is very talented!
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I was lucky enough to see him in concert, solo. What a great night.
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alonzo_cook
Spiritual, melodic & up lifting to say the less.
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poppa_bear49
This is a total TREAT!! To sit in for The Duke (Ellington) let's you know this man demands and commands RESPECT!!
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Don't read this cause it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.tomorro w w will be the best day of your life.however if you don't post this you will die in two days.now you've started reading so don't stop.this is so scary.put this on at least 5songs in 143 minutes.when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on screen in big letters. This is scary because it really works.
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Yeah Right?
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ABDULLAH i seen you many years ago NYC. VILLAGE GATE was wonderful
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I love your name and your music. South Africa is the place .
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obancole
God Bless such a genius of African Music. Amandla Africa!!
Report as inappropriate
I wrote a paper on him and his wife-the song scientists. It gave me the excuse to listen to as much of their music as I could get my hands on. What a treat!! They have so much to share with the world, and they do.
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Beautiful.
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tulzen
8 th wonder of the world
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Brilliant artistry of an internationa l l y recognized musical genius and anti-aparthe i d activist from the Cape Flats. Viva bra Dollar
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dead-i
Hey ms P. i see now that you know more than one guy from the township. do you have HM on FM ? that one is by one of your fave guys hank. he has thad and elvin with him
Report as inappropriate
Whether you know him as Dollar Brand or Abdullah Ibrahim he's one to be reckond with when his hands touch the black keys and his fingers stroke the white. Look out! Africa, reigh on me, rain down on me. The rhythm is earthy and sensual like only African Poly-rhythms can be framed in jazz. And that's no joke. Ummmmmmm!
Report as inappropriate
Does anyone know the album label for Abdullah Ibrahim Soweto?Dolla r Brand African Herbs. I would like to purchase but, I can't find it anywhere. nu6l@amsat.o r g
Joe C.
Report as inappropriate
This is amazing music. Such a cool beat, wonderful laid back melodies. Thank you!
Report as inappropriate
Thanks! for playing Abdulla Ibrahim!

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