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Abdullah Ibrahim


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Abdullah Ibrahim (born 1934, Cape Town, South Africa), formerly known as Adolph Johannes Brand, and as Dollar Brand (from a popular brand of cigarettes), is a South African pianist and composer. His music reflects many of the musical influences of his childhood in the multicultural port areas of Cape Town, ranging from traditional African songs to the gospel of the AME Church and ragas, to more modern jazz and other Western styles. He first received piano lessons at the age of seven, was an avid consumer of jazz records brought by American sailors, and was playing jazz professionally by 1949. In 1959 and 1960, he played alongside Kippie Moeketsi with The Jazz Epistles in Sophiatown before joining the European tour of the musical King Kong.

In 1962 during a tour of Europe, Duke Ellington heard “The Dollar Brand Trio” playing in Zürich’s “Africana Club”. As a result, a recording was set up with Reprise Records; “Duke Ellington presents The Dollar Brand Trio”. The Dollar Brand Trio (with Johnny Gertze on bass and Makaya Ntshoko on drums) subsequently played at many European festivals, as well as on radio and television.

He briefly returned to South Africa in the mid-1970s after his conversion to Islam (and the resultant change of name from Dollar Brand to Abdullah Ibrahim); however, he soon returned to New York in 1976, as he found the political conditions too oppressive. While in South Africa, however, he made a series of recordings with noted Cape Town jazz players (including Basil Coetzee and Robbie Jansen). This included Coetzee’s masterpiece, “Mannenberg”, acknowledged by most as one of South Africa’s greatest musical compositions; the recording soon became an unofficial soundtrack to the anti-apartheid resistance.


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  • fergalmc

    RIP Madiba.

    9 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Theeboon

    It's just plain stupid (and not to mention historically inaccurate) that Dollar Brand releases get autocorrected to Abdullah Ibrahim.

    8 Feb 2012 Reply
  • Billiat

    Sup ma man hw z i lov yo music

    5 Jul 2011 Reply
  • ze0d

    Mannenberg ♥

    3 Mar 2011 Reply
  • bal-i_cibril


    7 May 2010 Reply
  • Mango90

    should i go for another concert?

    3 May 2010 Reply
  • PablolitaScobar

    simply the best.. capetown revisited has got the flow without while being far from easy listening sounds.

    11 Apr 2010 Reply
  • tenrapid

    it is his 75th birthday today and he's doing a special concert tonight in Johannesburg which i'm going to! i'm not the biggest jazz fan (although i know a lot of his early stuff because my mom always played his albums at home), but i'm still looking forward to watching a living SA legend at work :)

    9 Oct 2009 Reply
  • koajazzz

    Namlhanje, très belle chanson

    15 Aug 2009 Reply
  • StevePL


    15 Apr 2009 Reply
  • PablolitaScobar

    Can you guys help me? I am looking for the song "The Minstrel", a track on the Album "Made in South Africa Township One More Time". This is not purchasable neither on nor on Amazon Europe...Anybody who knows where I could purchase the album?

    26 Jan 2009 Reply
  • boroboro222

    Hi to all! i just found a place where to download acid jazz mp3 to hard drive jazzzinggg ;)

    24 Dec 2008 Reply
  • eclectictrains

    At last I have found this track. I am at peace with my musical world. I saw Abdullah Ibrahim back in 1993 at the Jazz Cafe in Camden London. He was playing as a 4 piece with some NY based musicians and they were amazing. "The Mountain" melted over me and the audience and we were caught under his spell. Abdullah Ibrahim is so prolific and I didn't which album it was on. I had, and still have, the tune in my head but didn't know it's name. On one occasion I even whistled it to a man behind the counter on the jazz floor of Virgin on Oxford Street. Thanks, a musical mission has been accomplished. I might even buy the cd...

    3 Aug 2008 Reply
  • Shichman

    good stuff

    7 Jul 2008 Reply
  • zziverbey

    great man, great music

    20 Mar 2008 Reply
  • sparsk

    This music is so deep and fluid! Can't get enough African Magic.

    18 May 2007 Reply

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