Here’s one of my favorite jazz albums of all time: Live at Sweet Basil’s Volume 1 by Abdullah Ibrahim and Carlos Ward. Ibrahim is a South African bandleader, composer and pianist, and was for years known as Dollar Brand.
Carlos Ward has appeared on most of his records. As Ibrahim is often compared to Ellington, Carlos Ward is his Johnny Hodges. I read once that Ellington didn’t compose for an instrument, but for a particular performer’s interpretation of the instrument (ie, he didn’t write a part for the alto but a part for Johnny Hodges playing the alto, or Harry Carney playing the baritone, etc…) – Ibrahim wrote pieces for Carlos Ward in this way, especially this song:
(“Anthem for a New Nation”)
I always wished I could go into a club and see a duo like Ibrahim and Ward. This is one of those recordings where you can hear glasses clinking, where you can get a sense of the intimacy. The old Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul (when it was down a flight) had that quality, but I suppose I’m just nostalgic for something that’s gone. The new location is just as good, if not better, it’s just hard to accept change and to give up recollections of first experiences. That’s the reason I’m nostalgic for jazz in the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, for instance.
(“For Coltrane” #s 1 and 2)
And I can keep waiting but I don’t think volume 2 is on the way. It’s not in production. Somebody may have even thrown away the tapes. Too bad, because Live at Sweet Basil is one of my favorite jazz albums. I guess even more than I wish there were a volume 2, I wish I had been there…