3: Triple Vinyl LPGB1591
Pre-Order Item. Release Date Subject to Change.
Label: Gearbox Records
Release Date: 26th January
Abdullah Ibrahim is 84 and making the kind of music it takes a lifetime to master, that patience to allow space in the music, to play the piano with an economy where every note hits like sweet heart-swelling prose.
Legendary South Africann composer and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim announces new album "3" out 12th Jan via Gearbox Records. Taken from his summer 2023 sold-out headline date at London's Barbican Centre, the new album "3" follows suit and is spread across two performances - the first is recorded without an audience recorded ahead of the concert straight to analogue on a 1" Scully tape machine, which had previously been used by Elvis at the famous Memphis-based Sun Studios
The second recording is taken from the evening's performance itself with Ibrahim performing in a unique trio which includes Cleave Guyton (flute, piccolo, saxophone) who has performed alongside the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, and Joe Henderson, as well as lauded bassist and cellist Noah Jackson, both of which are members of Ekaya and featured on Ibrahim's top 3 Billboard Jazz album "The Balance".
The recordings feature a number of special new tracks and moving arrangements influenced by the music of Ibrahim's upbringing (gospel and jive, American jazz and classical music, sacred and secular), and arrangements of tracks by his friends and heroes such as Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, all interwoven by his fluidic and ebullient playing style. The recording also features spellbinding vocal performances from Ibrahim creating a powerful, pin- drop moment with heartbreaking songs about the pain of slavery sung in both an indigenous language and English. The whole thing is accentuated by the lack of percussion which highlights both the more poignant moments as well as the more energetic moments.
Abdullah Ibrahim (who has also recorded as Dollar Brand) is one of South Africa's most famous musicians. Born under the apartheid regime, where jazz music was seen as an act of resistance, his music is often referred to as representing freedom. His major anti-apartheid anthem "Mannenberg" (released as "Capetown Fringe" in the US) has come to be regarded as an unofficial national anthem in South Africa, and he even performed at Nelson Mandela's inauguration, where Mandela referred to him as "our Mozart". He's played with everyone from Duke Ellington to Max Roach, John Coltrane to Ornette Coleman, and is the father of underground rapper Jean Grae.
Abdullah Ibrahim was also recently awarded "The Order of the Rising Sun" by Japan's government - one of the country's top honours. Abdullah was one of several foreign recipients of the 2020 Spring Imperial awards conferred by His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan. The award was being given to Abdullah in recognition of his lifetime achievement in emancipating the people of South Africa and the world through his music, as well as his contribution to Japan-South African friendship through his works, performances and profound understanding of Japanese culture and spirituality.
This is something that is exemplified perfectly in Ibrahim's ongoing project at his 800-hectare farm in the Green Kalahari. The project engages the local community and neighbouring Botswana and Namibia, focusing on music, movement, medicine, meditation and Satoyama- biodiversity - the Japanese cosmology of conservation and creating a harmonious co- existence between humans and nature.
Recently speaking to Arts24, Ibrahim says, "The idea is that we incorporate all of this. I call it Satoyama Africa which is this biodiversity with music, astrophysics, and farm produce. For young people, the idea is to come there and engage in this. And for young musicians for example, composing in this dynamic. We have the
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ancient earth, and we have our sights beyond the milky way." This release is comprised of:
Volume 1 - Direct to Tape
Volume 2 - Live at The Barbican Parts 1 & 2
"The sound and spirit of Abdullah Ibrahim are potent as ever" The Wire
"Aged 84, would Abdullah Ibrahim's new venture with Gearbox Records match up to the high standards that he set years ago with his band of African and (mainly) American musicians? The answer is a resounding yes"
Jazzwise (cover feature)
"There are few musicians in jazz who can make you feel that essentially all is right in the world."
"People don't like Abdullah Ibrahim, they adore him, bestowing on him the devotion normally reserved for Nina Simone. When he plays, melodies tumble out effortlessly, as he slides from theme to theme like a laid-back South African reincarnation of Thelonious Monk."
"Ibrahim continues to push boundaries while keeping hold of his township roots" The Balance - London Evening Standard
"Stark pianism and gently rapturous compositions are steeped in the bright harmonies and bouncing rhythms of (Ibrahim's) native Cape Town."
New York Times