Skip to main content

Abdullah Ibrahim played piano in the Jazz Epistles band, which was the first ever band of all black South African musicians

Abdullah Ibrahim

Abdullah Ibrahim played piano in the Jazz Epistles band, which was the first ever band of all black South African musicians. He was born in Cape Town on 9 October 1934, and was baptized Adolph Johannes Music grew with him as did puberty Abdullah began piano lessons at the ripe age of six.

He attended Trafalgar High School in Cape Town's District Six. He was already performing before crowds because, at the age of 15, he made his professional debut. Like many, he was considered "colored" because he was of a mixed-race heritage according to the South African government
Ibrahim moved to Europe in 1962. In February 1963, with his wife-to-be, Sathima Bea Benjamin. They married in 1965.

While in Europe, Duke Ellington helped set up a recording session with Reprise Records: Duke Ellington Presents The Dollar Brand Trio. A second recording of the trio (also with Ellington and Billy Strayhorn on piano) performing with Sathima as vocalist was recorded, but remained unreleased until 1996 (A Morning in Paris, under Benjamin's name)

Ibrahim and Benjamin moved to New York in 1965 and that year he played at the Newport Jazz Festival, followed by a first tour through the US; in 1966 Ibrahim substituted for Duke Ellington on five dates, leading the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

As the Black Power movement developed in the 1960s and 1970s, it influenced a number of Ibrahim's friends and collaborators, who began to see their music as a form of cultural nationalism. Ibrahim, in turn, felt that the rhythm, sound, and culture of Afrika must be included as elements of his jazz
You can see in the expression on his face, the words in Boz Scaggs Lyrics, King Of El Paso...

..."You watch a few go down to the fire or the rope
You leave little to chance and nothing to hope". 

After converting to the Muslim faith in 1968, Abdullah Ibrahim returned to South Africa.
The South African Music Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the Recording Industry of South Africa, was presented to Abdullah Ibrahim in a ceremony at the Sun City Superbowl.

In 2009, for his solo piano album Senzo he received the "Best Male Artist" award at the 15th Annual MTN South African Music Awards.

Abdullah Ibrahim - The Song Is My Story

In 2009, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate of Music. Also in 2009, he was awarded South Africa's national honor the Order of Ikhamanga (Silver), "For his excellent contribution to the arts, putting South Africa on the international map and his fight against racism and apartheid."

In July 2017, he was honored with the German Jazz Trophy

Popular posts from this blog

Louis Armstrong - Jazz Musician - is remembered as a towering influence

Louis Armstrong: Jazz Trumpet Player - Singer

Louis Armstrong is remembered as a towering influence in the community of music lovers. He was born August 4, 1901. Nicknamed Satchmo, Satch or Pops. Known as an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and singer, Louis also was an occasional actor. His career covered five decades from the early 1920s to the 1960s.

By virtue of the content of his character, Armstrong was one of the first African-American entertainers to cross the skin color divide that existed in America at the time. To the dismay of many, he avoided publically politicizing his race but stood up for the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock.

By 1920, a younger generation of players, born after 1900, was emerging, and one name above all others began to be mentioned after 1918 when he first started appearing with Kid Ory's band: a talented trumpeter named Louis Armstrong.

The year 1928 was Armstrong's last full one in Chicago before he moved to New York, an…

Damien Escobar | Violinist
Damien Escobar | Violinist

Damien Escobar, also known as Dame Esco, is an American violinist. He was previously in the duo Nuttin' But Stringz with his brother Tourie, but has been a solo artist since 2012. His "crossover violin" musical style consists of a mix of classical, jazz, pop, R&B, and hip hop.

As kids Damien and Tourie worked as street musicians, playing at Grand Central Station and on the New York City subways. In 2003, they began playing professionally under the name Nuttin' But Stringz. In 2005, Nuttin' But Stringz won a talent contest at the Apollo Theater. In 2006, Escobar appeared in the film Step Up. Nuttin' But Stringz took third place in the 2008 season of America's Got Talent. They performed at the First inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009[2] and won two Emmys. In 2012, Nuttin' But Stringz separated. Escobar returned to school and got his real estate license…

Strange Fruit-Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday - Female Jazz Singer

Billie Holiday, jazz singer, probably best known for the song, "Strange Fruit", was born in 1915. The world enjoyed her work, music, and rare talent for nearly thirty years. Her vocal delivery and improvisational skills, not common in the jazz world, was considered an evolution in the art of jazz composition. At the tender age of eighteen, she was already the headline singing in small clubs in Harlem.
In 1935, Billie Holiday began recording with pianist Teddy Wilson. They put together several small jazz groups that included some of the best musicians in New York like Lester Young, Benny Goodman, and Ben Webster.

In late 1937, Holiday had a brief stint as a big-band vocalist with Count Basie. The traveling conditions of the band were often poor; they performed many one-nighters in clubs, moving from city to city with little stability.

Holiday chose the songs she sang and had a hand in the arrangements, I Must Have That Man", "Tra…