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November 2000

Abdullah Ibrahim Trio
Cape Town Revisited

Abdullah Ibrahim's greatest achievements are the series of beautiful solo records made in the '70s for independent labels like Sackville and Enja. While his duo and trio records included some notable successes, these solo flights place Ibrahim among the greatest exponents of solo jazz piano. I have usually found his larger group efforts less rewarding, however. Cape Town Revisited features titles that refer to Ibrahim's native area, from which he was exiled for so many years. Some are familiar, like "Tintinyana," which has made numerous appearances over the last 30-plus years, while others are less known. Ibrahim remains a powerful performer and great composer, and I especially like the excellent work of his trio mates, Marcus McKaurine and George Gray. The approach is markedly different from American piano trios, particularly the way Gray uses the snare drum. Trumpeter Feya Faku joins on three tracks and fits in well. The more I listen to this one, the more it grows on me.

Originally published in November 2000
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