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Abdullah Ibrahim is an NEA Jazz Master

Abdullah Ibrahim’s new solo program transcends category, combining the intimate and the universal in a unique way that is hinted at in its title. SENZO means “Ancestor” in both Chinese and Japanese. SENZO also echoes the name of Abdullah Ibrahim’s Sotho father, in whose language the word translates as “Creator”.

Abdullah Ibrahim, South Africa’s most distinguished pianist and a world-respected master musician, was born in 1934 in Cape Town and baptized Adolph Johannes Brand. His early musical memories were of traditional African Khoi-san songs and the Christian hymns, gospel tunes and spirituals that he heard from his grandmother, who was pianist for the local African Methodist Episcopalian church, and his mother, who led the choir. The Cape Town of his childhood was a melting-pot of cultural influences, and the young Dollar Brand, as he became known, was exposed to American jazz, township jive, CapeMalay music, as well as to classical music. Out of this blend of the secular and the religious, the traditional and the modern, developed the distinctive style, harmonies and musical vocabulary that are inimitably his own.

He began piano lessons at the age of seven and made his professional debut at fifteen, playing and later recording with such local groups as the Tuxedo Slickers. He was in the forefront of playing bebop with a Cape Town flavour and 1958 saw the formation of the Dollar Brand Trio. His groundbreaking septet the Jazz Epistles, formed in 1959 (with saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, trumpeter Hugh Masekela, trombonist Jonas Gwanga, bassist Johnny Gertze and drummer Makaya Ntshoko), recorded the first jazz album by South African musicians. That same year, he met and first performed with vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin; they were to marry six years later.

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Abdullah Ibrahim Concerts

Date Detail Price
Mar23Tue
Abdullah Ibrahim
Prinzregententheater
Munich, Germany

Albums

Album The Balance by Abdullah Ibrahim

The Balance

Gearbox Records
2019

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Album Dream Time by Abdullah Ibrahim

Dream Time

Enja Records
2019

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Album The Song Is My Story by Abdullah Ibrahim

The Song Is My Story

Sunnyside Records
2015

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Album African Piano by Abdullah Ibrahim

African Piano

Japo Records
2014

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Album Mukashi (Once upon a time) by Abdullah Ibrahim

Mukashi (Once upon a...

Sunnyside Records
2014

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Album Sotho Blue by Abdullah Ibrahim

Sotho Blue

Sunnyside Records
2011

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