Having released some of the most exciting jazz releases in recent years (Theon Cross, Binker and Moses, Thelonious Monk, Sarathy Korwar + more) Gearbox Records have now announced that they have signed a deal with legendary South African pianist and composer, Abdullah Ibrahim.

His first new album in 4 years, Ibrahim recently recorded some previously-unreleased music with his long-time band, Ekaya. The session took place over the course of a day in London at the great RAK Studios, last November. They recorded some full band arrangements and Ibrahim also recorded a couple of solo, improvised piano pieces. The instrumentation is broad and includes harmonica, cello, and piccolo. In his own words, “With Ekaya, I am blessed in that I have all these textural opportunities.”  

Speaking about the new album, the recording process and the recording process, Ibrahim says “We push ourselves out of our comfort zones. So that we can present to the listener our striving for excellence. So that we can engage with our listeners without any barriers of our ego. It’s not jazz. For us, it’s a process of transcending barriers. Technically it’s very, very skilled, but there’s simplicity in the complexity so that people can relate to it. It’s a natural rhythm of the universe. We’ve been looking at recording for some time. But we were looking for the correct vehicle. Someone who understands what we’re doing.  

Speaking about the signing label founder Darrel Sheinman, said “I was obviously honoured. He was coming to headline the London Jazz Festival, it was an opportunity to record him, so we did RAK Studios. There was a mixture of some older pieces and some new pieces. The other beauty is that he’s happy to be released as Abdullah Ibrahim aka Dollar Brand, which is quite interesting because he hasn’t done that since the ’60s. And I’ve always been a fan of him, in particular, his contribution to the whole township jazz sound.”

The new album will be coming out through Gearbox Records in Summer 2019

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