Monday, July 9, 2012

Abdullah Ibrahim - Water from an Ancient Well

Also made available domestically at one time by the defunct Black Hawk label, this superior Abdullah Ibrahim recording features the pianist/composer with a very strong septet. Such superior musicians as tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford, altoist Carlos Ward, baritonist Charles Davis, and trombonist Dick Griffin are heard at their most creative and emotional on these eight Ibrahim originals. Many of the melodies (particularly "Mandela," "Song for Sathima," "Water From an Ancient Well," and the beautiful "The Wedding") are among Ibrahim's finest compositions. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

This wonderful CD is one of my favourite. As usual, Ibrahim blends truly African music to the highly westernized music form, jazz. This truly is jazz, but it, more than any other jazz music i've heard, begs us to think for a moment of all the injustice some people have had to go through. It does this in a similar way as Benigni's "La vita è bella" does to confront the Third Reich - with beauty and humour.
The title, gives us an idea of the concept - we see members of an african community, walk to and fro an ancient well for water. Their ancestors used to do this, and on this ground, the ancestors of all humankind lived some 150.000 years before. Its in Africa were our history begins - and its there where some of the greatest crimes have been commited. Let's remember that Ibrahim is from South Africa.
I've mentioned beauty, and there's beauty here all right. I'm not surprised that another critic here deemed "The Wedding" good enough for his own wedding. I think that's a wonderful idea - maybe I do it. But The Wedding (as The Mountain) can be found on several other of Ibrahim's recordings. There is another gem here, and that's the title song - its in my opinion huntingly beautiful, symbolic (musical term: programmatic) and brings out tears in my eyes. Seldom has jazz music flown so high! - by Steinar,

Artist: Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand)
Album: Water from an Ancient Weel
Year: 1985
Label: Enja (1992)
Runtime: 46:46

1.  Mandela 4:59
2.  Song For Sathima 6:12
3.  Manenberg Revisited 6:11
4.  Tuang Guru 5:26
5.  Water From An Ancient Well 11:58
6.  The Wedding 2:41
7.  The Mountain 3:21
8.  Sameeda 5:56
All compositions by Abdullah Ibrahim 

Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) (Piano)
Carlos Ward (Alto Flute)
Ricky Ford (Tenor Saxophone)
Charles Davis (Baritone Saxophone)
David Williams (Double Bass)
Ben Riley (Drums)


  1. Thanks for your noble effort.

  2. Thank you for sharing this great album. As you say, it is truly jazz blended with African music. To me, it is like no other jazz I've heard and swings with an idiosyncratically African flair. It is hard to have a favorite on this disk, but I love Manenberg Revisited. It is the cut that the editors of Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology picked to represent his work on their 6-CD compilation.

    1. I forgot to add that Rudy van Gelder was the engineer on the original recording session. This album is great in many ways.

  3. Van Gelder was a true pro... thanks itr



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