Abdullah Ibrahim is described as a jazz pianist, but the description is far too simplistic to describe his magnificently complex music.
His sold out solo concert at the Munich Prince Regent Theatre in Munich saw the audience enraptured, and transported to an ethereal plane, by his wonderful compositions, that cleverly meandered into one another, producing an aura that left the listener in a trance that was difficult to dissociate from.
He plays without any theatrics, which seems befitting to the magnificent music. There are other artists, particularly in Jazz, who use gimmicks and poses, but not Ibrahim, he is there to play the piano. Just that.
He comes onto the stage and plays for almost 90 minutes
at a time. It is breathtaking how calm he remains and how expertly he strolls between the idioms, without fusing them together. He follows a line and always remains true to his unmistakeable sound.
Ibrahim’s playing is dense and subtle, but, at the same time immensely expressive.
It is not surprising that for decades he has not only been a well-known, but also a much-listened to, jazz musician.
One, whom people enjoy listening to, even if they would normally leave the room at the mere mention of Jazz.
But with Ibrahim they stay, while he envelops them in his melodies, which literally breathe, and acknowledges that his music is more than jazz.
At the end of the concert, the audience is brought back to reality. Ibrahim casually gets up, and there is a standing ovation. Only a very loud and long applause forces Ibrahim to appear on stage again. He stays close to the exit, bows briefly, and disappears. It almost seems as if the enthusiasm intimidates him. After all, he just wants to play the piano.
Gojic, Z. (2013) ‘Einfach nur spielen’, Münchner Merkur Nr. 71, 25 March, p.18.
English translation by: Marysa Leukes