In his 85th year and still writing vital music, Abdullah Ibrahim, a true giant of the golden age of Jazz, releases Dreamtime, the lead track from his first album in four years, The Balance, recorded at London’s RAK Studios and due out in late June. Ably supported by his long-time backing band Ekaya, Ibrahim doesn’t mess too much with the formula which has afforded him a 60 years (and counting!) career and as ever, the magic is in the spaces he creates with his masterful but sparse piano playing. Mellow, brooding and introspective, with a rhythm section playing just enough to let you know they’re there, and long, subtle chords from the horn section, the track is led by flute playing that could easily be mistaken for the likes of Herbie Mann or Hubert Laws. An unusual choice for a lead track perhaps, but his trademark melancholy Township Jazz is here in spades – not for no reason has he regularly been referred to as the South African Mozart, and it’s not a bridge to far to imagine this track as a piece for a chamber ensemble – there is great depth to be found here, as always, and it’s safe to say that while there is breath left in his body, he’ll be creating music that stands tall amongst his greatest works.
New album ‘The Balance’ due out 28th June via Gearbox Records