A rare LP, still unreleased on disc as of 2001, Black Lightning finds the great pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (still generally known as Dollar Brand at this point) in the company of a number of fellow South African musicians for a very fine session that focuses on his township roots. The title track is a joyous, bouncing affair with the three-reed frontline strutting their stuff over a rolling rhythm that never loses its impetus. The melody is infectious and danceable, certainly relating to the local bands with whom Ibrahim grew up and played. The legendary tenor saxophonist Basil Manenberg plays with utter authority and is quite willing to extend into relatively free playing given the context. "Little Boy" has a decidedly funky feel and points the way toward a style that Ibrahim would dip into occasionally in the ensuing decades: a more relaxed, less ecstatically driven music than that which he practiced in the '60s and early '70s. "Black & Brown Cherries" finds him switching somewhat uncomfortably to electric piano with a quartet (though the song itself is enjoyable enough) and he takes things out with a homage to one of his heroes, Monk's "Blue Monk." Black Lightning, though not of the caliber of his incredible solo performances, covers several facets of Ibrahim's art and is well worth picking up if you're lucky enough to come across it.
|Black Lightning / Abdullah Ibrahim||Abdullah Ibrahim||15:00|
|Little Boy / Abdullah Ibrahim||Abdullah Ibrahim||8:00|
|Black and Brown Cherries / Abdullah Ibrahim||Abdullah Ibrahim||6:00|
|Blue Monk / Thelonious Monk||Abdullah Ibrahim||7:00|