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Abdullah Ibrahim & WDR Big Band Cologne - Bombella

Abdullah Ibrahim & WDR Big Band Cologne - Bombella

Gold Train - South Africa


  • Edition: CD
  • Year: 2009
  • Order No.: INT 34302
€14.99  *
Incl. VAT and excl. shipping Weight: 0.07 kg

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Description

At first, there is only a piano and nothing else. The touch, spiritually carried away and fateful anchoring in Jazz history with a breeze from Africa immediately reveal the handwriting of Abdullah Ibrahim. And only last year, he had recorded a stunning solo album titled “Senzo” that embeds all his life experience in a close relationship network of social and historical viewpoints. However, after exactly two minutes and thirty-six seconds, it is clear that it is not just another solo album. Soft big band sounds surround the piano, become more consolidated and carry the sound of the South Africans to completely different places of intoxicating force.

His new album "Bombella" is in many respects the culmination of his complete career. Born as Adolphe Johannes Brand in Cape Town in 1934, he worked from 1949 as a professional musician under the name of Dollar Brand. What this meant in the times of Apartheid in South Africa does not need further explanation. After all, he stayed in his home country until the beginning of the sixties, where he accompanied Miriam Makeba and with the Jazz Epistles founded the first jazz band of Africa worth mentioning. However, the international recognition also caused distrust in his home country. In 1962 he moved to Europe, performing above all in Switzerland and Denmark, and was discovered by Duke Ellington in 1965.

Ellington took Brand to New York. The Triumph in the Newport Jazz Festival became his ticket to the first League of jazz. He belonged to the avant-garde of New York and trained not only his sense of improvisation through Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, but also took a spiritual path that he has remained on until today. He never broke off his close relation to Africa, but also continuously looked for alliances in Europe and Asia. From 1968, musicians like Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri and the legendary South African bass player Johnny Dyani were among his closest allies. In 1968 he converted to Islam and adopted the name Abdullah Ibrahim, which in the course of the next years very carefully replaced the trademark Dollar Brand. In the seventies and eighties, he was an absolute integration figure for African jazz. Albums such as "Echoes From Africa" (1979, in duo with Dyani), "African Marketplace" (1980) and "Zimbabwe" (1983) merit mentioning, which by then were described as an unthinkable organic relation between American jazz and African roots music. The abolition of apartheid was also a coup for Abdullah Ibrahim. He played at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994. With the thoughtful solo album "Senzo" he expanded the context of his African roots and American memories to a global experience.

To say that a piano is a compressed orchestra is a bit frivolous. This applies especially to Abdullah Ibrahim. "My career began in a big band."  Abdullah Ibrahim said. "My first performance was at the crossroads between the swing and bebop eras in a big band named Tuxedo Slickers in Cape Town. We played American arrangements, but also traditional African music. The energy of the big band has always been integrated in my playing. The arranger Steve Gray, with whom I worked on this music, has finally managed to revive the line of my solo part again and to transfer this into a big band context. He expanded my intentions with his own dynamics."

This album is also dedicated to the arranger Steve Gray, who died in September last year. Big band and solo are really opposite principles. From an artistic point of view, it might make sense to follow up a solo album with one with an orchestra. But with his unique skill for discreet abstraction and transcendental concordance of supposed antagonisms, Ibrahim also succeeds in interlacing the threads of ‘Senzo’ beyond the intro with the big band. " ‘Senzo’ was the embryonic form of what could come," said Ibrahim said. "Since I starting recording records, each album has contained the prerequisites for the next one. The songs in ‘Bombella’ are a continuation of the stories that I told in ‘Senzo’."

Indeed, "Bombella" tells very different stories. There is the portrait of South Africa from the perspective of a modern cosmopolitan, who has experienced the dimension of apartheid. It tells the story of Abdullah Ibrahim’s life in a very intimate way. "These ten songs work together as an extended experience. We have staged them like a film. These are biographical songs that also relate the evolution of my compositions. This CD represents a microcosm of my experience."

The material for "Bombella" is not new. Most of the songs are known from the other arrangements of important albums from the past of the South African jazz magicians such as "African River", "Cape Town Revisited" and "Water From An Ancient Well". With such a rich collection of works such as Abdullah Ibrahim has, it was certainly not easy to make a selection. "Many of these songs were recorded solo, in trio or with my band Ekaya. We wanted to know how they work with a big band. With it, Steve Gray and I followed the tradition of Ellington, who reinterpreted and restructured his compositions time and again. In addition we had our public in mind. Many of these songs had not been available for a long time due to distribution problems. We just wanted to make them accessible again in this way." His close relation to his mentor Ellington clearly finds more expression in "Bombella" than in most of his previous records. The arrangements and dynamics of the album evoke the Duke strongly. This was a conscious decision of Ibrahim and Gray. Ibrahim is convinced that Ellington is indispensable for a modern composer and arranger.

From the historical material of Abdullah Ibrahim, the intro "Green Kalahari" stands out, which you look for in vain on earlier records. There is a special story behind this. Green Kalahari is a landscape in the north of the Cape of South Africa, where the pianist recently bought a large 750 hectare farm. "It is a very exceptional place with rich flora and fauna as well as a ramified underground water system. I realized a project of my M7 Academy there. It is located very close to a two and a half million year old cave, in which people had already lived 800,000 years ago. ‘Green Kalahari’ is a completely improvised piano solo. It was recorded in one take and I could not play it again. For me, it represents my spiritual home."

Once again, Ibrahim follows his principle of "No Mind" in this improvisation, which he has taken over from Asian martial arts, and implies that all you have acquired with hard work over the decades is forgotten in the game and you just give yourself over to the magic of the moment. But every moment also has a historical dimension. This is reflected in the title, for example. Today, Bombela (with one l) stands for a high-speed train system that is being built in South Africa. However, if you search in the web for Bombella (double l), it is not that easy to find. The memory of Abdullah Ibrahim is superior to cyberspace in this area. "I wrote this song when I was 16. The name goes back to a train that transported the mine workers from all of South Africa to the gold and diamond mines. But the train had 4 classes. I always traveled fourth class with the foreign workers. The fourth class was always at the front of the train, because there you swallowed all of the dense smoke and embers, which was very unpleasant in the heat of South Africa. The meaning of this train was immense, since it was a symbol for all classes of South Africa."

Abdullah Ibrahim has again succeeded with this holistic work of art "Bombella", for which a restricting term such as jazz is too limited.

On October 9, 2009 Abdullah Ibrahim will celebrate his 75th Birthday, and the South African government is organizing a big gala party for this day – an honor, which few musicians receive. And he will certainly not miss the chance to display his virtuosity on the piano on that day.



Abdullah Ibrahim: piano / Paul Shigihara: guitar / John Goldsby: bass / Hans Dekker: drums / Andy Haderer: trumpet / Wim Both: trumpet / Rob Bruynen: trumpet / John Marshall: trumpet / Klaus Osterloh: trumpet / Ludwig Nuss: trombone / Dave Horler: trombone / Bernt Laukamp: trombone / Mattis Cederberg: bass trombone / Heiner Wiberny: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet / Karolina Strassmayer: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet / Olivier Peters: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet / Paul Heller: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet / Jens Neufang: baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet / Steve Gray: conductor, arranger
Details
Content text: Green Kalahari
Song For Sathima
Mandela
District Six (Trance Circle Dance)
Bombella
Meditation / Joan Capetown Flower (Emerald Bay)
I Mean You / For Monk
For Lawrence Brown (Remembrance)
Excursions (Masters And Muses)
African River
Performance duration: 74'30"
Publisher: Intuition
UPC: 750447343023

At first, there is only a piano and nothing else. The touch, spiritually carried away and fateful anchoring in Jazz history with a breeze from Africa immediately reveal the handwriting of Abdullah Ibrahim. And only last year, he had recorded a stunning solo album titled “Senzo” that embeds all his life experience in a close relationship network of social and historical viewpoints. However, after exactly two minutes and thirty-six seconds, it is clear that it is not just another solo album. Soft big band sounds surround the piano, become more consolidated and carry the sound of the South Africans to completely different places of intoxicating force.

His new album "Bombella" is in many respects the culmination of his complete career. Born as Adolphe Johannes Brand in Cape Town in 1934, he worked from 1949 as a professional musician under the name of Dollar Brand. What this meant in the times of Apartheid in South Africa does not need further explanation. After all, he stayed in his home country until the beginning of the sixties, where he accompanied Miriam Makeba and with the Jazz Epistles founded the first jazz band of Africa worth mentioning. However, the international recognition also caused distrust in his home country. In 1962 he moved to Europe, performing above all in Switzerland and Denmark, and was discovered by Duke Ellington in 1965.

Ellington took Brand to New York. The Triumph in the Newport Jazz Festival became his ticket to the first League of jazz. He belonged to the avant-garde of New York and trained not only his sense of improvisation through Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, but also took a spiritual path that he has remained on until today. He never broke off his close relation to Africa, but also continuously looked for alliances in Europe and Asia. From 1968, musicians like Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri and the legendary South African bass player Johnny Dyani were among his closest allies. In 1968 he converted to Islam and adopted the name Abdullah Ibrahim, which in the course of the next years very carefully replaced the trademark Dollar Brand. In the seventies and eighties, he was an absolute integration figure for African jazz. Albums such as "Echoes From Africa" (1979, in duo with Dyani), "African Marketplace" (1980) and "Zimbabwe" (1983) merit mentioning, which by then were described as an unthinkable organic relation between American jazz and African roots music. The abolition of apartheid was also a coup for Abdullah Ibrahim. He played at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994. With the thoughtful solo album "Senzo" he expanded the context of his African roots and American memories to a global experience.

To say that a piano is a compressed orchestra is a bit frivolous. This applies especially to Abdullah Ibrahim. "My career began in a big band."  Abdullah Ibrahim said. "My first performance was at the crossroads between the swing and bebop eras in a big band named Tuxedo Slickers in Cape Town. We played American arrangements, but also traditional African music. The energy of the big band has always been integrated in my playing. The arranger Steve Gray, with whom I worked on this music, has finally managed to revive the line of my solo part again and to transfer this into a big band context. He expanded my intentions with his own dynamics."

This album is also dedicated to the arranger Steve Gray, who died in September last year. Big band and solo are really opposite principles. From an artistic point of view, it might make sense to follow up a solo album with one with an orchestra. But with his unique skill for discreet abstraction and transcendental concordance of supposed antagonisms, Ibrahim also succeeds in interlacing the threads of ‘Senzo’ beyond the intro with the big band. " ‘Senzo’ was the embryonic form of what could come," said Ibrahim said. "Since I starting recording records, each album has contained the prerequisites for the next one. The songs in ‘Bombella’ are a continuation of the stories that I told in ‘Senzo’."

Indeed, "Bombella" tells very different stories. There is the portrait of South Africa from the perspective of a modern cosmopolitan, who has experienced the dimension of apartheid. It tells the story of Abdullah Ibrahim’s life in a very intimate way. "These ten songs work together as an extended experience. We have staged them like a film. These are biographical songs that also relate the evolution of my compositions. This CD represents a microcosm of my experience."

The material for "Bombella" is not new. Most of the songs are known from the other arrangements of important albums from the past of the South African jazz magicians such as "African River", "Cape Town Revisited" and "Water From An Ancient Well". With such a rich collection of works such as Abdullah Ibrahim has, it was certainly not easy to make a selection. "Many of these songs were recorded solo, in trio or with my band Ekaya. We wanted to know how they work with a big band. With it, Steve Gray and I followed the tradition of Ellington, who reinterpreted and restructured his compositions time and again. In addition we had our public in mind. Many of these songs had not been available for a long time due to distribution problems. We just wanted to make them accessible again in this way." His close relation to his mentor Ellington clearly finds more expression in "Bombella" than in most of his previous records. The arrangements and dynamics of the album evoke the Duke strongly. This was a conscious decision of Ibrahim and Gray. Ibrahim is convinced that Ellington is indispensable for a modern composer and arranger.

From the historical material of Abdullah Ibrahim, the intro "Green Kalahari" stands out, which you look for in vain on earlier records. There is a special story behind this. Green Kalahari is a landscape in the north of the Cape of South Africa, where the pianist recently bought a large 750 hectare farm. "It is a very exceptional place with rich flora and fauna as well as a ramified underground water system. I realized a project of my M7 Academy there. It is located very close to a two and a half million year old cave, in which people had already lived 800,000 years ago. ‘Green Kalahari’ is a completely improvised piano solo. It was recorded in one take and I could not play it again. For me, it represents my spiritual home."

Once again, Ibrahim follows his principle of "No Mind" in this improvisation, which he has taken over from Asian martial arts, and implies that all you have acquired with hard work over the decades is forgotten in the game and you just give yourself over to the magic of the moment. But every moment also has a historical dimension. This is reflected in the title, for example. Today, Bombela (with one l) stands for a high-speed train system that is being built in South Africa. However, if you search in the web for Bombella (double l), it is not that easy to find. The memory of Abdullah Ibrahim is superior to cyberspace in this area. "I wrote this song when I was 16. The name goes back to a train that transported the mine workers from all of South Africa to the gold and diamond mines. But the train had 4 classes. I always traveled fourth class with the foreign workers. The fourth class was always at the front of the train, because there you swallowed all of the dense smoke and embers, which was very unpleasant in the heat of South Africa. The meaning of this train was immense, since it was a symbol for all classes of South Africa."

Abdullah Ibrahim has again succeeded with this holistic work of art "Bombella", for which a restricting term such as jazz is too limited.

On October 9, 2009 Abdullah Ibrahim will celebrate his 75th Birthday, and the South African government is organizing a big gala party for this day – an honor, which few musicians receive. And he will certainly not miss the chance to display his virtuosity on the piano on that day.



Abdullah Ibrahim: piano / Paul Shigihara: guitar / John Goldsby: bass / Hans Dekker: drums / Andy Haderer: trumpet / Wim Both: trumpet / Rob Bruynen: trumpet / John Marshall: trumpet / Klaus Osterloh: trumpet / Ludwig Nuss: trombone / Dave Horler: trombone / Bernt Laukamp: trombone / Mattis Cederberg: bass trombone / Heiner Wiberny: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet / Karolina Strassmayer: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet / Olivier Peters: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet / Paul Heller: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet / Jens Neufang: baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet / Steve Gray: conductor, arranger
Content text: Green Kalahari
Song For Sathima
Mandela
District Six (Trance Circle Dance)
Bombella
Meditation / Joan Capetown Flower (Emerald Bay)
I Mean You / For Monk
For Lawrence Brown (Remembrance)
Excursions (Masters And Muses)
African River
Performance duration: 74'30"
Publisher: Intuition
UPC: 750447343023
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