Saturday 23 November 2019

Bless The Day #2: African Sun

‘African Sun’ is a composition by Abdullah Ibrahim which comes as close as anything in music to defining something spiritual, whether in a jazz context or in a wider one. It is a work which seems to have within it the very warmth of the sun, but also a wonderful mix of pride, defiance, celebration, protest. At just over six minutes in length it seems absurdly short, and leaves the listener wanting to hear it over and over again.
The track opens with a minute-or-so of rippling, rolling wave-like piano playing, with a suggestion of shimmering percussion in the background, then boom, the bass comes in, soon followed by Kippie Moeketsi on the saxophone, soaring like some exotic bird, and all the while Abdullah Ibrahim, or Dollar Brand as he was when he first recorded it, is playing a series of rhythmic piano patterns, often deep and bass heavy. The ripples return at the four-minute mark before a final flourish of rhythmic perfection for the final minute or so, with Kippie on saxophone singing sweetly, and the listener likely to be found dancing on air, dancing wherever they are.