Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio

Dollar Brand / Dollar Brand Trio

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Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio Review

by Scott Yanow

Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) was a newcomer to Europe in 1963, having recently left his homeland South Africa. His wife Bea Benjamin had persuaded Duke Ellington to see Brand perform, and he was so impressed that he produced Brand on a record date for Reprise with Dollar's trio (which included bassist Johnny Gertze and drummer Makaya Ntshoko), reissued on CD in 1997. Brand, who at the time was very influenced by Thelonious Monk and (to a lesser extent) Ellington, performs five originals plus Monk's "Brilliant Corners." Although his style was not as distinctive as it would become (there is little heard of his country's folk music), this is a consistently stimulating, exploratory and recommended, if (at 33-minutes) brief set.

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