All You Need To Know About South African Jazz Icon Abdullah Ibrahim And ‘Blue Bolero’

Abdullah Ibrahim

Abdullah Ibrahim is a South African musician and composer. His music reflects a significant number of the melodic impacts of his childhood in the multicultural port spaces of Cape Town, going from conventional African tunes to the good news of the AME Church and Ragas, to more current jazz and other Western styles.

Some few years back, the 87 year old legendary musician and composer, released a staggering tune ‘Blue Bolero‘ from his solo piano album ‘Solotude’. After some years, Abdullah Ibrahim whose real name is Adolph Johannes Brand, did a 2020 adaptation of ‘Blue Bolero’ which was recorded in Germany from ‘Solotude’.

No one does impressive glory and a feeling of groundbreaking quality better than Ibrahim. How the earworm happened was hearing Ibrahim at London’s Barbican. Prior to the real act, Ibrahim came on and moved toward the Fazioli, with its castors shining. Wearing shades, his garments free and open to looking, his hair gray, character stately, started to play.

A hymn of concentration, the sheet music in front of him a little irrelevant but this was pure improvisation and an assembling once more of a lifetime of music with a few cues from the few staves. Ibrahim played out the tune in London, and it was a phenomenal show without any stains.

Ibrahim didn’t speak at all and none of the tunes were announced. One theme, a thing of beauty, ‘Blue Bolero’, returned a few times within the first improvisation, the repetition was a charm and besides this there were echoes of Monk particularly.

‘Blue Bolero’ was also recorded in a threesome circumstance by the incomparable South African jazz icon and worldwide motivation for example on his Tiptoe/Enja mark African Magic recording issued in 2002. And now it is felicitously back once again, a reason for no small celebration.

Other Solotude tracks besides ‘Blue Bolero’ (and two reprises of the piece) on the Gearbox November release are: Mindiff, Trieste My Love, Nisa, In-Tempo, Dreamtime, Peace, Blues For A Hip King (also on the aforementioned African Magic), District 6 and a reprise of the piece, Tokai, Pula, Sotho Blue, Did You Hear That Sound, In The Evening, Once Upon A Midnight, The Wedding and Signal On The Hill.

Solotude was recorded at the Hirzinger Hall in the small Bavarian town of Riedering. Earworm time all over again.

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