Abdullah Ibrahim: In a Sentimental Mood


In a Sentimental Mood


Senzo (Sunnyside 1212)

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Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) (piano).

Composed by Duke Ellington, Manny Kurtz & Irving Mills


Recorded: Cologne, April, 2008


Rating: 78/100 (learn more)

Ibrahim enjoyed the rare distinction, back in the early 1960s, of having his career take flight under the sponsorship of Duke Ellington. Here he returns the favor by interpreting one of Ellington's best known songs. But this track is a disappointment. The piano sound is murky, and though the recording engineer bears some responsibility, Ibrahim's pedaling and piano touch also contribute to the problem. Throughout this CD, and especially on this track, Ibrahim relies on a fractured rubato. Again and again, he hits a chord at the start of the bar, adds a very concise right hand phrase—the phrases here rarely cross the barline, as though it were some insurmountable obstacle—then the sounds die out while Ibrahim pauses to consider his follow-up move. Eventually the next bar starts, with another chord and another phrase stumbles out of the starting gate, only to fall to the ground before reaching the finish line. To add to the austere sensibility, Ibrahim has excised most of the recognizable elements from Ellington's original composition. There is neither much sentiment nor mood in this version of "Sentimental Mood." Some of the harmonic textures are interesting, but there is not enough substance here for them to cohere into anything substantial.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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