Abdullah Ibrahim & Dollar Brand
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African Sketchbook is a superb example of the kind of solo concerts Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) performed early in his career. They were lengthy, non-stop affairs with pieces strung together end on end, sometimes repeated, sometimes with interpolations from Monk or Ellington, and always supremely creative and moving. He would often introduce the evenings with a composition for flute, as is the case here with the gorgeous "Air." After that, it's wave upon wave of songs. Some are rhythmically propulsive numbers with Ibrahim vamping for all he's worth with the left hand while deftly evoking aspects of South Africa with the right. The songs tend to have a basis that may strike Western listeners as gospel-related while, in fact, it's gospel that shows these same African roots. Other pieces have tinges of 20th century European classical music and some, like "Sadness," are simply and astoundingly beautiful. When the album ends with a repetition of the invocational "Salaam — Peace -Hamba Kahle," one indeed feels as though having been on a whirlwind tour of a small portion of Africa. The recording quality leaves a little to be desired, but the wonderful music more than makes up for it. Highly recommended, especially for those who came to Ibrahim's music later in his career and who are unfamiliar with his early, arguably more substantial work.
Born: 09 October 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Abdullah Ibrahim
||Tsakve||Africa - Tears and Laughter||1:32||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Mannenberg Revisited||A Celebration||6:13||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Chisa||Cape Town Flowers||3:59||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Blue Monk||African Dawn||4:20||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Sunshine of Your Smile||African Dawn||3:29||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Water from an Ancient Well||Cape Town Revisited||5:42||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||For Coltrane||African Dawn||7:23||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Soweto||Cape Town Revisited||4:07||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Serenity (The Daybreak Song)||Mindif||3:08||$1.79||View In iTunes|
||Black and Brown Cherries||South Africa||7:59||$1.79||View In iTunes|