Abdullah Ibrahim is not just a jazz pianist. When one thinks "jazz pianist", one thinks of Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson, or Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton; Ibrahim is something altogether different.

Born Adolphe Johannes Brand in Capetown, South Africa on October 9th 1934, Ibrahim was introduced to the piano at the age of seven. Calling himself Dollar Brand, the young pianist began playing in church and later in a hometown group called the Jazz Epistles. Ibrahim became a professional musician at the age of sixteen with the Tuxedo Slickers and later, the Willie Max Big Band, before recording South Africa's first ever jazz album in 1960.

After fleeing South Africa with vocalist and future-wife Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1962 due to apartheid, Ibrahim remained in Zurich. The great Duke Ellington discovered the Dollar Brand trio playing at the Africana club and immediately arranged for recording sessions. In 1963 and the following year, the Dollar Brand trio performed at major European festivals and radio events. Since then, Ibrahim (who changed his name when he converted to Islam in the late '60s) has been a bandleader and pianist until the present, with various tours and many, many albums. Ibrahim has won awards for composition, performance and even soundtrack, including the score for the film Chocolat.

What makes Abdullah Ibrahim different to most other jazz pianists is his heritage, the influences that have shaped him as a musician. The African spiritual and religious songs that he learnt as a child are often echoed in his music, which has an exotic and powerful flavour as a result. The fusion of traditional African sound and African-American piano jazz creates Ibrahim's unique and refreshingly different style. I recommend his music to everyone that enjoys jazz and all things mellow. Download some today!


This discography may be incomplete.


Albums:

Africa: Tears and Laughter
African Dawn
African Marketplace
African Piano
African Portraits
African River
African Sketchbook
African Suite
Ancient Africa
Anthems for the New Nation
Banyana: The Children Of Africa
Black Lightning
Capetown Flowers
Capetown Fringe
Capetown Revisited
Desert Flower
Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio
Echoes From Africa
Ekapa Ludumo
Fats, Duke & the Monk
Good News From Africa
Jazz Epistles: Verse I
Journey
Knysna Blue
No Fear, No Die
Ode to Duke Ellington
Reflections
Round Midnight at the Montmartre
Sangoma
South Africa
Soundtrack From Chocolat
Soweto
Streams of Consciousness
The Mountain
The Pilgrim
Very Best Of Abdullah Ibrahim
Water From An Ancient Well
Yarona
Zimababwe


Compilations:

Rough Guide To South African Jazz
Smooth Africa
Soundtrack
Unwired Africa




Sources:
www.jazze.com
www.downbeat.com


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