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Song Spirit

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Album Review

This compilation of tracks by vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin draws from throughout her career, ranging from her recording debut in 1963 up to 2002. Married to pianist Abdullah Ibrahim for most of her career, who joins her on a haunting duet of Rodgers & Hart's "It Never Entered My Mind" (the only previously unissued track), she is beautifully accompanied by pianists such as Kenny Barron, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Larry Willis, Stephen Scott, and the lesser-known Henry February. But the most intriguing track is from her debut recording (which was thought lost and was unreleased until 1996), where Duke Ellington provides stunning accompaniment in a challenging key requested by the singer to her marvelous interpretation of "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," with pizzicato violin added by Svend Asmussen at the composer's suggestion. This is an incredible portrait of a gifted jazz vocalist whose voice has matured like a fine wine over the decades.


Born: 17 October 1936 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

An enchanting, evocative vocalist, Satima Bea Benjamin made several recordings as a leader after establishing herself in Abdullah Ibrahim's (her husband) band during the '70s. Benjamin performed and recorded show tunes, standards, and traditional South African and African music, and she improvised on her originals and other jazz pieces. Benjamin and Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) met in South Africa at the end of the '50s. After leaving their homeland and immigrating to Europe, they met Duke...
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Song Spirit, Sathima Bea Benjamin
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