Monday, October 09, 2006

A Shameless Plug for Sathima Bea Benjamin

EDIT to the below post: On October 21, the Hotel Chelsea Blog "Living with Legends" ran a review of the concert:

So I've been working with the South African singer (originally from Cape Town, in fact) Sathima Bea Benjamin.

Some may know her from her recording in 1963 with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn called A Morning in Paris (criminally out of print). Some may know her as Abdullah Ibrahim's wife.

I know her as the greatest living jazz singer...and a colorful person to chat and work with!

This year, we put out her 2002 album Musical Echoes in the states - it had only been available in South Africa prior to that. And now, on October 17th, we're having an extra special release.

On October 17th, Sathima turns 70 years old. To celebrate, she is releasing SongSpirit, which compiles some of her best tracks from 1963 to 2002, and includes a never-before-released duet with Abdullah Ibrahim, of "It Never Entered My Mind."

Also, she'll be performing that night at Sweet Rhythm Jazz Club here in New York - should be a very special evening.

Like I said, shameless plug for this album, but it's a really beautiful recording and tribute to a singer who, in my mind, has never gotten the recognition she deserves.

For those of you unfamiliar with her singing, she gets compared to Billie Holiday. I suppose this is somewhat valid, especially in the flexible approach to pitch and rhythm they share. However, Sathima brings in her Cape Town influences in a fairly unique way - in choice of scales, and in the use of the ghoema rhythm - which is samba-like.

And, to boot, Duke Ellington, Abdullah Ibrahim, Kenny Barron, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Buster Williams, Larry Willis, Ben Riley, Stephen Scott and a LOT more musicians all are featured on this album.

So pick up the album, and come to the show. And say hi!


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