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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

3“, and the divine trio of pianist Abdullah Ibrahimcontinues to leave his mark on musical history with this precious double album. At no less than 90 years of age, the man whom Nelson Mandela dubbed “the South African Mozart” surprises us once again with gentle reinterpretations of the songs that forged his legend.

3 is a trio album that follows on from the acclaimed Solotude and The Balance, also released on the English label Gearbox. On this latest project, Cleave Guyton (flute, piccolo, saxophone) and Noah Jackson (bass, cello) accompany the pianist on 3, recorded at London’s Barbican Centre.

You need these talented companions to travel through the art of the immense Abdullah Ibrahim. His music reflects the cultural complexity of South Africa: it is diverse, full of different inspirations (sacred, secular, jive, jazz..). Born during the apartheid regime, Ibrahim, and his songs with him, naturally became symbols of protest. This multiple musical identity, made up of overlapping identities, is still intensely felt and heard today.

Abdullah Ibrahim, in 3, takes us from delicate music to lively swing, from secrecy to energy. Reprise 1 and 2 are slow ballads, dreamy, silent, resonant, with bold harmonies that remind us of the pianist’s gospel and jazz influences. There are also tracks like Skippy (Monk) that demonstrate Guyton and Jackson‘s exalted technique.

In this double album, Ibrahim rearranges some of his classics: The Wedding, Maraba, Blue Bolero. Of particular note is the hymn-like, comforting simplicity of Water from an Ancient Well, complemented by Guyton‘s inspired and exuberant flute solo. Alongside his own compositions, the pianist pays homage to the likes of John Coltrane and Duke Ellington with covers of Giant Steps and In a Sentimental Mood. With these legends, the comparison stands.

Released on 26 January 2024, . No excuses.

Line up:

Abdullah Ibrahim: piano, compositions

Cleave Guyton: flute, piccolo, saxophone

Noah Jackson: doublebass and cello

Released January 26,  2024, by the label Gearbox Records, the album is already available on all streaming platforms. It is “Hit Couleurs Jazz” and “Best of the Month” in Couleurs Jazz Radio for January 24.

© Photo Fraser Collier

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