Abdullah Ibrahim talks jazz: themes, history and spirit

Abdullah Ibrahim

How does one pass down knowledge that resists the deteriorating effects of time? With a soft spoken, low and wisened voice, Abdullah Ibrahim, a South African pianist and composer, responded to creative writing professor Nathaniel Mackey. In the “Talking Music: A Life in Jazz” talk on Oct. 15, Mackey and Ibrahim discussed the sources of […]

‘The Song is My Story’ Review

The Song Is My Story

Celestial Bird Dance, the first song on the album (the intro), is too short for my liking. The beautiful melody composed in 1970 deserves more than just over a minute. It is one of those songs that make you want to listen to it more than once before you allow the rest of the CD […]

Review: “Mukashi” Trio in the NAC Studio

From Hum Peter

Tuesday night, the South African jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim might have played the fewest notes of any pianist appearing in the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival’s NAC Studio series. But make no mistake, the impact of what Ibrahim played was huge. Making every note count, he led his “Mukashi” trio through an entrancing set of rarefied, uncompromising […]

Review: Norwich Theatre Royal performance

Abdullah Ibrahim

Few of us will have ever been disappointed by performances that our Theatre Royal puts on. However, I have rarely been startled, especially by a jazz concert. This is a genre that I think I have loved since I was in my pram, with my older brother trying to lull me to sleep with his […]

Meditation in motion

Abdullah Ibrahim

Abdullah Ibrahim’s fame has never quite matched his achievement. One could easily argue that he is the most talented pianist who has not yet been elected to the DownBeat Hall of Fame. He is the most prominent jazz musician ever born in Africa, and by creating a model of how to blend that continent’s traditional […]

Review: Mukashi (Once Upon a Time)


On the eve of his 80th birthday and less than a year after the death of his wife, singer Sathima Bea Benjamin, South African piano great Abdullah Ibrahim has released his starkest, most reflective collection to date. Mukashi is a Japanese word that translates as “Once upon a time,” and the album finds Ibrahim in […]