Abdullah Ibrahim: The Balance

Album review
Abdullah Ibrahim: The Balance

Abdullah Ibrahim

The Balance

Label: Gearbox
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

The great South African pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim has slowed his pace in recent years, and has most often been heard either solo or with a trio on his infrequent recording dates. But now he has recruited a top-notch septet for performances at major festivals all around Europe and North America, and found time to take the group into the studio of one of the best audiophile labels in the world. Ibrahim begin his recording career (as Dollar Brand) in South Africa some 60 years ago, playing in an explosive sextet called the Jazz Epistles, and at times this new group does hearken back to the bright, positive sound of township jazz. It also delivers lovely ballads, like the opener “Dreamtime,” and blows out the stops as well, notably on Ibrahim’s own “Tuang Guru” and “Skippy,” one of Thelonious Monk’s most rambunctious tunes. There are also a few piano solos sprinkled in. This record is a triumph not just for Ibrahim and his excellent supporting cast but for Gearbox, and likely to score very high when people vote for the best new releases of 2019. It’s certainly near the top of this writer’s list. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Abdullah Ibrahim

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