“There are few musicians in jazz who can make you feel that essentially all is right in the world.” - The Times
On The Balance:
"Getting the balance just right has always been Ibrahim’s great strength, drawing from a source but keeping it fresh..." - Julian Cowley, The Wire
★★★★★ - The Evening Standard
"A modern master... his graceful playing leans on equal measures of force and restraint, of dense clusters and open space. Mr. Ibrahim’s music is dotted by satisfying, sometimes stunning, passages of repose." - Larry Blumenfeld, Wall Street Journal
At the age of 84, Abdullah Ibrahim (AKA Dollar Brand) is set to release his first new album in four years. Entitled 'The Balance', this project features his long-time septet Ekaya, a line-up that he's been recording with since 1983. In this case, the album was recorded over the course of one day at London's RAK Studios last November. The lush horn lines, lilting melodies, and uplifting chord progressions are characteristic of Abdullah's own particular brand of Township Jazz. This is contrasted with various solo piano improvisations, which epitomise the nostalgic yet hopeful nature of Abdullah's musical spirit. Hence, The Balance.
In his own words, "We push ourselves out of our comfort zones. So that we can present to the listener our striving for excellence. So that we can engage with our listeners without any barriers of our ego. It's not jazz. For us, it's a process of transcending barriers."
This is just one hell of a groovy album. Eaglehurst/The Palace just busts down dancefloors. Great to see the original jazz dancers getting down to something so new and fresh, better yet to see a whole new scene buiding. It's the real deal. Paul Murphy