Dollar Brand / Abdullah Ibrahim

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Journey Review

by Ken Dryden

South African pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim (still known as Dollar Brand at the time this recording was first made) joined forces with several well-known figures in avant-garde jazz, including trumpeter Don Cherry and baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, for this 1978 session. As a result, not all of the music is the hypnotic, very rhythmic music that he is known for. Following the outstanding but brief opener, "Sister Rosie," during which the leader sticks exclusively to playing soprano sax, the sound changes dramatically. "Jabulani (Joy)" starts off promising enough, but quickly segues into an energetic but dull atonal group improvisation. "Hajj (Journey)" also opens with a hypnotic piano vamp that adopts a bit of a Middle Eastern flavor with a call and response between Talib Rhynie's oboe and the rest of the band, though it doesn't always hold one's interest, as it is stretched to nearly 22 minutes. Avant-garde fans will want to check this unusual date in Abdullah Ibrahim's sizable discography.

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