Initially a meeting between swing tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate and post-bop pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (still widely known as Dollar Brand in 1977 when this CD was recorded), this seems like a possible misfire. Instead, it proves to be an inspiration, as each player taught the other new music and they successfully blended their disparate jazz backgrounds into one outstanding album. The first track, "Goduka Mfundi," is particularly interesting; it's an original by Ibrahim that Tate and the rhythm section (drummer Roy Brooks and bassist Cecil McBee) had just learned prior to recording it, and the composer sits out this hypnotic African groove tune. The pianist's other original is the tasty blues "Heyt Mazurki." Tate's quick tutoring of Ibrahim also pays off huge dividends, as "Doggin' Around" is the most smoking performance of the date, while "Just You, Just Me" proves to be a unique mix of swing and African jazz. The remaining two quartet tracks are familiar turf to all parties. Tate's soulful tone recalls Ben Webster in "Poor Butterfly," though Ibrahim clearly steals the show with his well-disguised, dreamy introduction to Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood." At this point Tate had to leave for a gig, and the date was completed as a trio. "Shrimp Boats," a piece that Ibrahim recorded on several different occasions, is slow to develop but a very infectious chant-like work. The pianist actual chants along with the almost Middle Eastern-sounding introduction that eventually unfolds into John Lewis' well-known "Django"; in fact, this ten-plus minute piece is nearly over by the time they segue into its theme, following McBee's terrific arco bass solo and Brooks' superb drum solo. It's a shame there wasn't an encore meeting between Ibrahim and Tate following the making of this memorable disc.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden