The South African piano maestro is back with “Blue Bolero”, a delicate rendition of one of his originals, available now as a single.
Abdullah Ibrahim (who has also recorded as Dollar Brand) is one of South Africa’s most famous musicians. Born under apartheid, where jazz was seen as an act of resistance, his music has played a significant role in the fight for freedom. His major anti-apartheid composition, “Mannenberg,” has come to be regarded as an unofficial anthem for the country. Following his critically acclaimed 2019 record The Balance, the legendary pianist and composer now returns with the announcement for Solotude, an album recorded at Ibrahim’s latest concert at Hirzinger Hall, Germany. It will be released via London-based label Gearbox Records.
Due to lockdown restrictions at the time of recording, Ibrahim decided to record a solo piano performance instead of the annual concert that he normally plays to celebrate his birthday. On this new album, Ibrahim explores modern jazz styles, reinterpreting well-loved songs and recent album tracks, as well as some new compositions such as “In-Tempo,” “Once Upon A Midnight,” and “Signal On A Hill.”
With its hypnotic melodies and nostalgic motifs, the first single, “Blue Bolero,” shows the highly intimate nature of the album. Ibrahim himself opens up via the liner notes: “6 years old – I played my first note on the piano with the index finger. Now 80 years and 10 fingers later – a journey that took me from Cape Town to all corners and mentors of the world – the index finger unveiled plays itself the one note of universal unity.”
Solotude, out on November 26 via Gearbox Records.