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Abdullah Ibrahim: A Celebration

A Celebration was released in Europe in 2004 to celebrate Abdullah Ibrahim’s 70th birthday, and its 13 songs spotlight the incredible pianist’s multifaceted, 35-year tenure with the Enja label. From solo pieces (“The Perfumed Garden Wet With Rain,” “Ancient Cape”) and duets (“Ntsikana’s Bell,” “Saud,” “Earth Bird”) to trio numbers (“Ishmael”) and beyond (“Imam,” “African Market Place,” “The Mountain,” “Siya Hamba Namhlanje,” “Mannenberg Revisited,” “Mindif”), Ibrahim incorporates everything from South African dance music and European classical to jazz swing and worldly discursions. A Celebration is a fine introduction, but those who already possess a bulging Ibrahim CD collection should feel free to skip it as there’s only one rare-ish track: an edited version of “Ishmael,” featuring Ibrahim on soprano sax and piano with drummer Roy Brooks and bassist Cecil McBee, from the Enja compilation The More We Know.

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