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Cape Town Revisited by Abdullah Ibrahim Trio

Duke Ellington was impressed enough to arrange a 1963 recording session for Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand). Since then this giant of a composer/pianist has brought us sounds that mirror the tragedies and hopes of his beloved country, South Africa. This live trio session, recorded in 1997, draws inspiration from the Ibrahim blend of religious music, African dance and the blues. Marcus McLaurine on bass and drummer George Grey provide the rhythmic pulse which is at the heart of South African music. McLaurine furnishes quicksilver upper register solos while trumpeter Feya Faku adds excitement to several cuts.

The CD opens with a delicate treatment of "Damara Blue." This solemn side of Ibrahim reminds me of the great Catalonian pianist, Tete Montoliu, who also combined jazz and the music of his homeland. Next comes the "Cape Town to Congo Square" suite. The first movement, "African Street Parade" is a celebration. "District Six Carnival" depicts the melancholy of apartheid. The suite closes with the joyful "Too-Kah" or "way back." "Tuang Guru" moves us and the named teacher from exile to triumphant return. A hymnlike "Song to Sathima," and the energized "Tsakwe-Royal Blue," are tributes to Ibrahim's former wife and his son.

There is an almost spiritual quality in the way emotion is conveyed by these and the other compositions in this album. In addition, the recording quality is excellent and that uncredited piano at Spier Estate in Cape Town is a listener's joy.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Abdullah Ibrahim Trio
  • CD Title: Cape Town Revisited
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Enja
  • Rating: Five Stars
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