1973 - African Piano
02. Selby That The Eternal Spirit Is The Only Reality 2:23
03. The Moon 8:08
04. Xaba 0:40
05. Sunset In Blue 4:25
06. Kippy 5:05
07. Jabulani - Easter Joy 2:06
08. Tintinyana 4:42
Dollar Brand - Piano
The early 1970s were the age of Brand's majestic solo albums. Ancient Africa (june 1972), one long live medley of Brand compositions, was only the appetizer. One session produced material for two albums: African Portraits (february 1973) and Sangoma (february 1973). The latter, his masterpiece, contained the three-part suite The Alone And The Wild Rose, the six-part suite Fats Duke And the Monk and the side-long three-part suite Ancient Africa. Besides the much inferior Memories (december 1973) and Ode To Duke Ellington (december 1973), the other notably solo album of the era was African Breeze (february 1974). Good News From Africa (december 1973) was a duo with bassist Johnny Dyani.
That magic season was sealed by Brand's masterpiece for large ensemble, African Space Program (november 1973), that contained two suites, the 19-minute Tintiyana and the 23-minute Jabulani, for a twelve-piece unit (piano, three trumpeters, four saxophonists including Hamiet Bluiett, flutist Sonny Fortune, trombone, bass and drums) in the vein of Charles Mingus. Boswil Concert 1973 documents a live performance by Dollar Brand and his wife vocalist Bea Benjamin. Also notable were the Southafrican quintet session with alto saxophonist Robbie Jansen and legendary tenor Basil Coetzee, Mannenberg It's Where It's Happening (june 1974), aka Capetown Fringe, that included his Cape Town Fringe and The Pilgrim: Underground in Africa (march 1974), with three wild horns undermining Brand's bluesy piano during the 23-minute Kalahari; Soweto (june 1975), aka Africa Herbs, that included Soweto Is Where It's At, African Herbs and Sathima, three extended compositions for larger combos; Blues For A Hip King (november 1975), for a septet of piano, two saxophones, trumpet, trombone, bass and drums; The Children Of Africa (january 1976), with Cecil McBee on bass and Roy Brooks on drums, that contained Ishmael and Yukio-Khalifa; the saxophone quartet Black Lightning (august 1976), with the side-long Black Lightning; and The Journey (september 1977), for a nonet featuring Bluiett, Dyani and Don Cherry. There was little in these romantic fantasies that could be called "avantgarde".
An (almost) solo live gig recorded in a Scandinavian jazz club accompanied by much loud eating, drinking and conversation. It's hard to believe that anyone with a working set of ears would not be completely transfixed by this intense and committed performance - my meatballs would have certainly remained untouched until the last note had faded away. Thankfully, the background noise does not interfere with the listeners enjoyment. I first heard this record 20 years ago and even though I spent several of those years without a copy, the indelible impression left by this blend of South African folk melodies and modern jazz sensibility bound together with a constant muscular, supple rhythmic pulse and an almost tangible spiritual sincerity, has kept it as one of my most beloved of all albums. A "must buy" for any Dollar Brand fan, along with "Good News From Africa", the excellent album of duets with bass player (and fellow South African) Johnny Dyani.