404. Abdullah Ibrahim – “Best of…”

This was a very thoughtful Xmas present from wife’s Aunt when we were last in South Africa.

Ibrahim (formerly known as Dollar Brand) is a legend of the South African jazz scene (despite living in exile for much of his career), a pianist and composer of the highest order.

This compilation is certainly great value, with 10 tracks totalling more than 75 minutes airtime. The works are all instrumental, built most often around tenor saxophone or piano, with limited supplementary orchestration.

As you’ve probably deduced, I am a jazz philistine. But I know what I like, and I like what I hear here (hmm, that sentence developed a rather Dr Seuss feel towards the end!).

This is a perfect soundtrack to a breezy, warm day… a day with a few storm clouds brewing, but which seems to work out well in the end.

The highlight of the album, is Ibrahim’s signature tune, the epic 13 minute+ Mannenburg. Here’s a taste of it:

Good jazz makes you feel cool, in the way that a leather biker jacket and slick haircut did for the Fonz.  This album delivers.

File under: On the money


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