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World Music CD Reviews Africa

ABDULLAH IBRAHIM WITH THE NDR BIG BAND

By James Rodgers
Published March 3, 2006

Ekapa Lodumo
Enja

If the idea of a South African jazz pianist, who blends African rhythms into Duke Ellington-style jazz, playing with an 18-piece German big band just seems strange and absurd, you may want to turn off the preconception button on your stereo before playing Ekapa Lodumo. These musicians may be from different countries, different continents, have different colors, and speak different languages, but they all swing with a unified energy and voice that invigorates as it grooves. Playing with the NDR Big Band is nothing new for Abdullah Ibrahim, having worked with them on occasion since 1968. This 2000 recording of a live show in Hamburg, Germany is outstanding: the seven expansive compositions here allow Ibrahim and his musicians plenty of room for expression.