Sathima Bea BenjaminView in iTunes
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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 Ellington in Switzerland in 1962. He sponsored recordings for the two; Benjamin's was unfortunately not released for the first time until 1996. She eventually sang with Ellington's orchestra at Newport (1965) and her first full recorded set as a leader (1979) was an Ellington tribute. Benjamin led dates for Ekapa, BlackHawk, and Enja, and used such fine musicians as Ricky Ford, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, and Billy Higgins. She died at her home in Cape Town, South Africa on August 20, 2013; Sathima Bea Benjamin was 76 years old. ~ Ron Wynn & Scott Yanow