Abdullah Ibrahim, NDR Big Band, Norwich

DAVID WAKEFIELD It is an amazing fact that South Africa, whose black and coloured citizens have suffered much in the past, has produced several world-class jazzmen.

DAVID WAKEFIELD

It is an amazing fact that South Africa, whose black and coloured citizens have suffered much in the past, has produced several world-class jazzmen. Pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim is one such musician, and anyone seeking proof of his abilities as player and writer would have found them last night at St Andrew's Hall.

His atmospheric compositions, arranged partly by Brit Steve Gray and beautifully played by a classy German big band, mixed the wild rhythms of the townships with the peace and tranquility of that great land's wild vistas.

The foot-tapping African Market got things off to a romping start before some beautiful piano in Mindif, a tune that, not for the first time that evening, showed Ibrahim's considerable Ellingtonian influences.

There was more in the appropriately titled Duke 88 which finished the first half.

The maestro occupied the stage in solo mode to get the second half under way with a 15-minute unaccompanied piece which fell into the tone poem category, before the band returned to up the tempo once again with Black and Brown Cherries, Ibrahim's interpretation of a township Saturday night.

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In this performance the NDR musicians certainly showed themselves to be able soloists.

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