A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Abdullah Ibrahim's Ekaya, The Barbican, 30/03/10

I was at the Barbican yesterday to see South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and his band Ekaya play a rare live show. My busy schedule and an element of gig-fatigue had combined to make me consider missing this concert but I am pleased I was able to make it. I have to confess to never having listened to any of Abdullah Ibrahim's music before and largely went out of curiosity and what I had ready about his music / reputation.

The concert began with Ibrahim alone on stage, playing some soft, gentle piano which projected an air of stillness and calm across the Barbican hall. The introduction of the double bass and percussion added an extra dimension to the sound but the playing continued in patient, restrained, almost meditative style. The subsequent appearance of the saxophones, trombone and flute completed the band and provided some smooth, unobtrusive melodic lines.

The concert continued in similar fashion, the pace generally remaining laid-back and mellow, and only periodically being broken by the saxophones gradually rising to assume a more dominant position. Ibrahim seemed content for the piano to take a back seat, and allow his band to almost play around him in effortless, mellifluous fashion.

It was an enjoyable set, very accomplished and easy to listen to. I do love the knowledgeable, mid-set applauding of adept solos or impressive segues that you only get at a jazz concert.

I will definitely aim to pick up one or two of his many albums over forthcoming months...

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