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Mukashi - Once Upon a Time

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Over the course of a career dating back to the '50s, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly known as Dollar Brand) has been known for playing a distinct brand of jazz that draws on the music of his homeland. 2014’s Mukashi, which incorporates Japanese influences, features pieces evocative of chamber music. Ibrahim is joined here by winds player Cleave Guyton (a member of Ibrahim’s group Ekaya) and two cellists, Eugen Bazijan and Scott Roller. The brief, meditative title track for voice and flute leads into “Dream Time,” a lovely composition for piano, flute, and cello that's tinged with a noir vibe. “The Stars Will Remember,” a standard from the '40s recorded by Frank Sinatra, gets an artfully hesitant solo piano reading. “Matzikama” has sustained flute and cello tones tickled by staccato piano. “Mississippi” features bluesy clarinet from Guyton and a plucked cello that serves as a bass line. “Krotoa” is a short three-part suite about a South African girl’s first encounter with Europeans in the 17th century. Spare piano, more cello-as-bass, and fluttery flute mark the closer, “The Balance.”


Born: October 9, 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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Mukashi - Once Upon a Time, Abdullah Ibrahim
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