Dream Time (CD)

Abdullah Ibrahim

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The South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s Solo Concert, recorded in his new homeland of Bavaria. The resultant CD “Dream Time” choreographs this subtly stirring recital as a timelessly beautiful self portrait of the artist. Calm, yet exuding a gripping power. In prelude, soft tones gently reveal the initial melodic content. Motifs emerge in echo, making way for a complete melodic statement refined through minute, unexpected details. The gathering stream flows directly into a single, liberating chord. A second melody follows suit, at once melancholic, morphing to bright lyricism, also settling on an open chord. Yet not an end, but a transition...Abdullah Ibrahim is a master of transition. Born October 9th, 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa-the iconic pianist soon celebrates 85 years on the planet. A pianist, whom at 85 continues to exhibit a long winded perseverance in performance. In the course of an hour’s time, an uninterrupted flow of melody-tonal beauty of a strong spiritual nature. This music towers far above the mere sum of it’s notes. Listening to the man in concert is like eavesdropping on his life story. Threads are laid out, some to be revisited, others not...as quietly, almost unconsciously, the lattice entwines the audience, revealing fascinating moments of a life well lived. Moments unhurried, flowing slow and steady-sometimes stopping time itself. Such a modus operandi allows for an uncommon intimacy and a veritable archaic freedom from the hecticism of our times.Those who might immerse themselves in Abdullah Ibrahim’s music, will encounter an unfiltered tenderness of immense rarity. -1- This recording took place in March, 2019- a Sunday afternoon, in the spacious performance hall of the Hirzinger Restaurant in the quaint Bavarian hamlet of Sollhuben. This venue, in the Chiemgau region, has become Abdullah Ibrahim’s preferred concert stage-as the Chiemgau has also become a new home for him and his partner. The room, it’s ceiling revealing exposed wooden beams, exudes a mix of secrecy and welcome which has proved simpatico for the pianist. Accordingly, the late afternoon’s hour long musical narrative enjoys a certain organic congeniality. The music struts forward without pause-is this a medley? A mix of many themes would be, in any other hands, exactly that. In Abdullah Ibrahim’s case, this description might adhere in a technical sense, yet completely misses the essence of his offering. A medley, in it’s true form, seeks to satisfy diverse requests- squeezing in as many familiar melodies as possible, so as not to disappoint the mass audience. In this artist’s case, his melodies will not function as “ ear candy”, rather as pieces of a unique musical identity. They won’t melt in your mouth, instead gently slipping under your skin, destined to remain.These numerous, meticulously intimate melodic threads,charting nearly seven decades of professional endeavor, won’t satisfy as a quick-fix- their full effect only gradually spun. Here, the listener will not be slammed with rhetorik-rather guided through a lengthy unobtrusive sequence of musical gestures. These are gestures of understanding, striving for a humanitarian symbiosis. Much of what occurs here echoes previous recordings in the artist’s discography. As an exception, “Mannenburg” -once an anthem of the Anti-Apartheid movement- stands out in it’s absence. “Blues for a Hip King” which carries a similar iconic importance in South African music, adds to it’s presence serving as the centerpiece of the recording. Shortly before Abdullah revisits “District Six”, a work brimming in the supressive drama of a particularly evil racist operation: the violent evacuation of a multi-ethnic neighborhood in favor of a whites-only gentrification. Ibrahim fled his homeland in 1962, returning in 1990. Legendary, his performance at Nelson Mandela’s 1994 inauguration as South Africa’s first black president. -2- The motifs summon echoes of Ibrahim’s homeland, not as banal decoration, rather as proud sonic declaration of his impressive life story. Alone through their stubbornly original tone, they hold a singular importance in global jazz history. As the recital continues, Abdullah revisits some of his most eloquent African themes: the magical “ Whoza Mtwana” or the equally captivating “Sotho Blue”. The multi stranded mosaic, it’s inner filaments mapped through numerous reprise of the theme “ Blue Bolero”, now proffers compositions like “ For Coltrane” or a heartfelt homage to Duke Ellington, who mentored Ibrahim-introducing him to an international audience. Eclectic viewpoints, yet the flow remains unbroken. The Afro-American music which provided early inspiration to the pianist then known as Dollar Brand, merges naturally with the celebratory hymn-like themes which became African hits. For Abdullah, it’s all one entity. As he weaves his musical magic, breathing slow and deeply-past embraces present. The notes, better said their SOUL, deliver a message of timelessness. It’s indeed a major stroke of luck that this concert was captured for prosperity. The intimate venue (seating 350) lies in Abdullah Ibrahim’s new found home:never to replace, but to complement the homeland. One might succumb to the gripping effect as the last tonal strands of memory merge, bowing to a life well lived. Those who indulge will join the stream- the sounds and their profound message forever under the skin. --Roland Spiegel
  1. Trieste My Love
  2. Genesis
  3. For Coltrane
  4. Blue Bolero
  5. Nisa
  6. Blue Bolero
  7. Capetown District Six
  8. Sotho Blue
  9. Machopi
  10. Whoza Mtwana
  11. Blues for a Hip King
  12. Dream Time
  13. In the Evening
  14. Song for Lawrence Brown
  15. Blue Bolero
  16. Dedication to Duke Ellington
  17. The Balance
  18. Aspen
  19. Did You Hear That Sound
  20. Blue Bolero
Utgitt 2019 Format CD
Sjanger Jazz Antall disker 1
Artist Abdullah Ibrahim Bestillingsnummer ENJ9676