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A Morning In Paris

Sathima Bea Benjamin

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Album Review

In 1963, singer Sathima Bea Benjamin persuaded Duke Ellington to see her future husband, Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand), play in a club in Europe. Ellington was impressed by both of the recent South African émigrés and arranged with Reprise to record them. While Brand's record came out within a year, Benjamin's debut was lost and not heard for decades, even by the singer. As it turned out, engineer Gerhard Lehner had made a second copy and kept it for all of these years, so the initial 1997 release of this important session was possible. Backed by pianist Ibrahim, bassist Johnny Gertze, drummer Makaya Ntshoko, and (on two songs apiece) Duke Ellington or Billy Strayhorn, and occasionally joined by violinist Svend Asmussen (who here plays exclusively pizzicato, as if he were using a high-pitched guitar), Benjamin's voice sounds quite beautiful. She performs two Ellington tunes, Strayhorn's "Your Love Has Faded," and nine standards, with the emphasis on slow ballads. The moody music is often haunting and quite memorable.

Customer Reviews

A Fine Album

This is a very old album that has not dated a day. Ms. Benjamin has an exceptional voice. If you like the image of female singer on stage in a smoky darkened room, with the light pointing only at her - and she sings to match that sultry mood, then you will appreciate this record.


Born: October 17, 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...
Full Bio
A Morning In Paris, Sathima Bea Benjamin
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  • Partial Album
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock
  • Released: Feb 23, 1963

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