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The Song Is My Story

Abdullah Ibrahim

The Song Is My Story

Price: € 23.95
Format: CD+DVD video
Label: Intuition
UPC: 0750447344228
Catnr: INT 34422
Release date: 24 October 2014
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2 CD+DVD video
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€ 23.95
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Label
Intuition
UPC
0750447344228
Catalogue number
INT 34422
Release date
24 October 2014

"The pianist summs up his life in touching beauty."

Jazzthing, 09-2-2015
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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DE

About the album

We can celebrate several anniversaries at the same time with this recording. First, there is the 80th birthday of one of the most significant musicians in this world. We are also reminded of the time 40 years ago when he composed "Mannenberg", which soon became the hymn of the slums and townships of South Africa. Finally, there is also the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

He was born as Adolphe Johannes Brand in this country of unequal rights and already called himself Dollar Brand as an adolescent. He started playing piano when he was seven and already became a "professional musician" at 15. He emigrated to Europe–still as Dollar Brand–in 1962, where Duke Ellington discovered him shortly afterward. He then moved to the USA. That marked the beginning of his international career, which has lasted until today. He has converted to Islam in the meantime and returned to Europe long ago. Then he changed his name again and has been known as Abdullah Ibrahim worldwide for decades. His style is difficult to describe, even when you repeatedly come up against clichés of African melodies and harmonies. In addition, you can't miss the influence of great co-musicians such as Thelonious Monk. He said in an interview with the magazine "Zeit" in 2013:

"I have always sought for a specific sound my whole life. At the end of the 60s—I lived in New York in the meantime—this search became worse and worse. I walked the streets day and night, a restless African in America, who did not understand what was driving him. It wasn't the sound, but the silence, the silent moments in music."

Perhaps it is that which fascinates millions of people: Abdullah Ibrahim's treatment of time, space and silence. Three dimensions of music, which he—and probably only he—celebrates like a prayer put to music. It is not without reason that he writes on the CD cover: "Improvisation is mediation in motion".

Ibrahim said in the same interview: "There are people who can only play if they have sheet music. But we others improvise without knowing where we are headed. This makes us free. We don't fear situations that we don't know. We have a song, rhythm, harmony and pitch, and then we start to play with that, turn everything upside down … We jazz musicians are not afraid of letting things take their course."

However, the term "jazz musician" is a corset, which is much too constricted for this great personage, who has not lost any of this radiance. His music is "world" music in the good sense of the word. It not only links sounds of different genres and musical traditions, but also music with poetry, sound with feelings, melodies with stories – and people with people.

Abdullah Ibrahim visited Italy in the summer of 2014, played on the legendary "Fazioli" grand piano and visited the workshop where these pianos are crafted. There is a concert hall there with fantastic instruments, which sound as if they were created especially for Ibrahim. Abdullah Ibrahim recorded this CD there in free improvisation for the most part. Fortunately, professional films were shot during those days, so that we cannot only issue the CD, but also a DVD with concert excerpts as well as impressive comments by and conversations with Abdullah Ibrahim.
Gleich mehrere Jahrestage dürfen wir mit dieser Aufnahme feiern: den 80. Geburtstag eines der bedeutendsten Musiker dieser Welt. Außerdem die Erinnerung an die Zeit vor 40 Jahren, als seine Komposition „Mannenberg“ entstand und schon bald zur Hymne der Slums und Townships Südafrikas wurde. Und schließlich auch das Ende der Apartheid vor 20 Jahren.

In diese Unrechtsgesellschaft hinein wurde er als Adolphe Johannes Brand geboren, schon als Jugendlicher nannte er sich Dollar Brand. Mit sieben Jahren hatte er begonnen, Klavier zu spielen, und schon mit 15 Jahren wurde er „Berufsmusiker“. 1962 wanderte er - noch als Dollar Brand ‑ nach Europa aus, wo er kurz darauf von Duke Ellington entdeckt wurde und in die U.S.A. umsiedelte. Dies markiert den Beginn seiner internationalen Karriere, die bis heute andauert. Mittlerweile zum Islam konvertiert und längst wieder nach Europa zurück gekehrt, ist er weltweit seit Jahrzehnten unter dem Namen Abdullah Ibrahim bekannt. Sein Stil lässt sich nur schwer beschreiben, auch wenn man immer wieder auf Versatzstücke afrikanischer Melodik und Harmonie stößt. Und der Einfluss großer Kollegen wie Thelonious Monk unüberhörbar ist. Er selbst bemerkte in einem Interview mit der Zeitschrift „Zeit“ im Jahre 2013:
„Ich habe schon immer, mein Leben lang, nach einem bestimmten Klang gesucht. Ende der sechziger Jahre, ich lebte zwischenzeitlich in New York, wurde diese Suche immer schlimmer. Ich fuhr Tag und Nacht durch die Straßen, ein rastloser Afrikaner in Amerika, der nicht begriff, was ihn umtrieb: Es war gar nicht der Klang, es war die Stille, die Stille in der Musik.“

Vielleicht ist es das, was Millionen Menschen so fasziniert: Abdullah Ibrahims Umgang mit Zeit, mit Raum, mit Stille. Drei Dimensionen einer Musik, die er - und vermutlich nur er – wie ein vertontes Gebet zelebriert. Nicht umsonst schreibt er uns auf die CD: „Improvisation is mediation in motion“.

Im gleichen Interview sagte Ibrahim: „Es gibt Leute, die nur spielen können, wenn sie ein Notenblatt vor sich haben. Wir anderen aber improvisieren, ohne das Ziel zu kennen. Das macht uns frei. Wir fürchten uns nicht vor Situationen, die wir nicht kennen. Wir haben einen Song, haben Rhythmus, Harmonie, Tonlage – und dann fangen wir an, damit zu spielen, stellen alles auf den Kopf … Wir Jazzmusiker haben keine Angst, die Dinge laufen zu lassen.“

Dabei ist die Bezeichnung „Jazzmusiker“ ein Korsett, das viel zu eng ist für den großen Mann, der nichts von seiner Strahlkraft eingebüßt hat. Seine Musik ist im guten Sinne „Welt“-Musik, sie verbindet nicht nur die Klänge verschiedener Genres und musikalischer Traditionen, sondern auch Musik mit Poesie, Klang mit Gefühlen, Melodien mit Geschichten – und Menschen mit Menschen.

Im Sommer 2014 besuchte Abdullah Ibrahim Italien, er spielte auf einem der legendären „Fazioli“-Flügel, und er besuchte die Manufaktur, in der diese Flügel entstehen. Dort befindet sich auch ein Konzertsaal mit diesen wunderbaren Instrumenten, die wie für Ibrahim speziell erschaffen klingen. Hier spielte Abdullah Ibrahim die vorliegende CD ein, zum größten Teil frei improvisiert. Glücklicherweise wurden während dieser Tage auch professionelle Filmaufnahmen gemacht, so dass wir nicht nur die CD veröffentlichen können, sondern auch eine DVD mit Konzertausschnitten und beeindruckenden Kommentaren von und Gesprächen mit Abdullah Ibrahim.

Artist(s)

Abdullah Ibrahim

He turned 79 on October 9, 2013. That fact that someone has experienced a lot by this age goes without saying. However, this applies more for some people than for others. Abdullah Ibrahim can justifiably claim that he has not only experienced history, but also shaped it. Born in the middle of South African apartheid in 1934, he started to play piano in his native country under the name 'Dollar Brand' at that time; his name at birth was 'Adolphe Johannes Brand'. He soon became known in South Africa, which was more dangerous than helpful as a member of a majority terrorized by a minority. He left his country in 1962, and Duke Ellington arranged for him to go to...
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He turned 79 on October 9, 2013. That fact that someone has experienced a lot by this age goes without saying. However, this applies more for some people than for others. Abdullah Ibrahim can justifiably claim that he has not only experienced history, but also shaped it. Born in the middle of South African apartheid in 1934, he started to play piano in his native country under the name "Dollar Brand" at that time; his name at birth was "Adolphe Johannes Brand". He soon became known in South Africa, which was more dangerous than helpful as a member of a majority terrorized by a minority. He left his country in 1962, and Duke Ellington arranged for him to go to America a few years later. An international career started after that, which only few living jazz musicians can look back on. That fact that he played at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela after the abolition of apartheid was only logical.

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Composer(s)

Press

The pianist summs up his life in touching beauty.
Jazzthing, 09-2-2015

CD of the month Ibrahim has created rhythms and melodies which keeps running through the listener's heads even after the music has already faded away. 
Piano News, 15-1-2015

A record which draws a sensitive portrait of the artist. Here Abdullah Ibrahim shows that he is the master of excluding unnecessary tones.
Fono Forum, 05-1-2015

His new CD "The Song is my Story" is an other proof of him beeing one of the ikons of jazz.
www.aboutjazz.de, 16-12-2014

Audiophile highlight of the month - A record which draws a sensitive portrait of the artist. Here Abdullah Ibrahim shows that he is the master of excluding unnecessary tones.
Stereo, 15-12-2014

Ibrahim who is going to turn 80 at the 9th of october could not have made himself a better present
Jazzpodium, 27-11-2014

CD-Tip - Never before has Abdullah Ibrahim been so close to his dream to find peacefulness in the music.
tonart, 26-11-2014

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Often bought together with..

Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series Vol. 46 / Charles Lloyd Quartet, Montreux Jazz Festival 1967
Charles Lloyd Quartet
Drums in the Night
Willem Breuker / Bertolt Brecht

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