Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Dollar Brand playing solo – but with a vibrancy that hardly makes you miss the other instruments at all! Most of the record features solo piano, but there's also a bit of bamboo flute as well – leading off the set and establishing this great organic vibe to the whole thing, which is then followed by Brand's long-spun, completely hypnotic lines on piano! The recording quality is wonderful – very clear and strong, and quite resonant too – and the set features two side-long long suites – "Africa" and "Reflection" – with shorter passages that move through the warm range of moods you'd find in Brand's other strong work from the time. Titles include "Ancient Africa", "Msunduza", "Single Petal Of A Rose", and "African Sun".
Still known as Dollar Brand at the time of this recording, Abdullah Ibrahim had his first encounter with a large ensemble on African Space Program, and the results are quite successful. Despite a muddy sound quality, this is music built on infectious themes and played with verve by a fine cast of instrumentalists. The first part of "Tintiyana," entirely written, is redolent of Ellington and Mingus, all churning low tones and percussion. When the second portion begins, the mood turns celebratory with a striding, gospel-imbued theme supporting heroic solos from all involved. Several of the musicians on hand were generally involved with the avant-garde end of the jazz spectrum at the time, and their playing is full of bite and a risk-taking nature that greatly enlivens the proceedings.
This is one of Abdullah Ibrahim's most colorful band recordings. With a 12-piece group that includes altoist Carlos Ward, trombonist Craig Harris and bassist Cecil McBee along with some lesser-known names, Ibrahim performs eight folklike originals that pay tribute to his life growing up in South Africa. "The Homecoming Song," "Anthem for the New Nation" and especially "The Wedding" (a beautiful hymn) are particularly memorable.
A beautiful live performance from the same trio that delivered the Third World Underground album for Trio Records in 1972 – a set done with a similar mix of earthy, global elements as that gem – delivered by Carlos Ward on alto and flute, Dollar Brand on piano and flute, and Don Cherry on flute, trumpet, and percussion! There's a style here that's almost an extension of the energy of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago – especially in the way the musicians mix up instruments – combined with some of the more globally-sensitive elements of Don Cherry's work in Sweden, which clearly brings out qualities in Brand and Ward that are different than their already-great work together on other albums. Titles include "African Session", "Air", "Berimbau", "Waya Wa Egoli", "Cherry", and "Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro".
The extraordinary South African pianist meets his countryman, the late, very great bassist Johnny Dyani, and the result is one of the single most beautiful recordings of the '70s. The duo mix in traditional African and Islamic songs and perform with a fervor and depth of feeling rarely heard in or outside of jazz. From the opening traditional Xhosa song, "Ntsikana's Bell," the rich, sonorous approach of these two musicians is evident, both singing in stirring fashion, Ibrahim guttural and serious, Dyani as free and light as a swallow. Ibrahim treats the listener to some of his all-too-rarely heard flute work on the following track, using Kirk-ian techniques of sung overtones in a gorgeous original.
Adolph Johannes Brand was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1934. He adopted the stage name Dollar Brand for his first few recordings, before changing his name to Abdullah Ibrahim on his conversion to Islam in 1968. The recording dates of both these sets are from that brief period between the burst of South African jazz and when Ibrahim and fellow musicians fled apartheid in 1962.
Two jazz giants of the 70s come together on this rare Italian recording from the late 60s - South African pianist Dollar Brand (Abdulla Ibrahim) and Argentine tenorist Gato Barbieri - both working here in spare duo formation, with edges that are a fair bit sharper than most of their later work! The format is incredibly spare - just tenor and piano, plus some occasional cello work by Brand - dark and angular, but also filled with small flowers of hope, flowering in the spontaneous presence of these two great minds - a tremendous spirit that makes the record very different than freer jazz outings, and which maybe points the way towards some of the classic European tenor/piano recordings to come.
A somewhat surprising pairing at the time, the former firebrand of the tenor sax and the wonderful South African pianist found a pleasant and relaxed meeting point. By 1978, Shepp had largely abandoned the ferocious attack that gained him renown in the '60s, settling on a rich, Ben Webster-ish tone and playing a repertoire consisting of modern standards and bluesy originals. Two such pieces, the lovely Dave Burrell/Marion Brown composition "Fortunato" and Mal Waldron's "Left Alone," are highlights of this session, Shepp's burnished tone as soft as an old shoe.