Thursday, November 15, 2007
Abdullah Ibrahim - solo recital in Zurich
Last night I went to hear the surviving master of South African jazz in a solo recital in Zurich, Switzerland (which happens to be my hometown, for those who didn't know). He was scheduled to play a 75 minute set at the Neumünster church (which is actually in walking distance from our place), but the concert started at 8 p.m. and Ibrahim played until 10:20 p.m. - clearly he was in a good mood! And he got two standing ovations between sets (roughly 75, 30 and 20 minutes). The first part started out a bit muted, very soft and slow, but after a few minutes I was deeply inside his music. He went on improvising in a soft way, mostly at slow tempos, but the music developed into kind of a maelstrom, pulling me in deeper and deeper.
In the second improvisation, he used some motifs from his famous song-like compositions, with a little groove building up here and there, but still always at slow tempos and masterfully building his improvisation. The third set then he opened with Duke Ellington's hymn "Come Sunday", seguing into a Monk tune, some of his own tunes, and also playing "Memories of You" (see his CD "African Sun" for a marvellous version of that standard, in quartet with Kippie Moeketsi). That third set was where the "jazz" part came in, with Ibrahim playing more rhythmically, and eventually swinging hard, but still at a very relaxed, slow tempo. In short: a very fascinating and mesmerising evening!
PS: alas my recording device did not work, so don't wait for this to show up on dime!