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ClassicsOnline Home » IBRAHIM, Abdullah / DYANI, Johnny: Echoes from Africa
Iconic South African jazz duo documented
Recorded in Ludwigsburg in 1979, this album represents a meeting of two iconic South African jazz musicians, who had to make careers for themselves outside South Africa due to the political circumstances prevailing in the country at the time.
Comprising three original compositions by the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and a reharmonised version of the classic Mackay Davashe tune "Lakutshon'ilanga," the music sounds very different from American jazz.
Harmonically simple, the opening track "Namhanje (Today)" opens with Dyani singing. It is based on a hypnotic repeated chordal pattern over which the musicians sing lyrics in vernacular South African language. There follows a lengthy improvisation by Ibrahim over this repeated pattern, drawing on his highly developed rhythmic sense and incorporating some moments of free improvisation. Throughout the lengthy piece, Dyani plays the support role with a very warm sound from the double bass.
Davashe's ballad "Lakutshon'ilanga" is pensive and delicate by contrast with the previous excursion. The reharmonised treatment gives the piece a Charlie Haden-esque flavour.
"Saud," which Ibrahim dedicates to Coltrane's long-time associate McCoy Tyner, is an introspective minor blues in which Ibrahim suggests Middle Eastern melodies at times.
"Zikr" concludes the album with a gospel flavour and features Dyani's bow work. The devotional character of the piece has a pervasive quality of longing about it, and the direct emotional appeal of the composition is very moving.
Despite some occasional rough edges, there are moments of great emotional depth in the music as a whole, and it stands as an important record of the work of the late Johnny Dyani, who worked with many significant improvising musicians until his death in 1986 at the age of 42.
Dyani and Ibrahim (along with Chris McGregor and the Blue Notes) remain significant not only for their musicianship, but also in bringing an African jazz sensibility to Europe and the world in general.more....
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