Hommage à Abdullah Ibrahim

Hommage à Abdullah Ibrahim is a 20-minute excerpt from Hommage à l'Afrique, an hour-long composition for solo instrumentalist and recorded sound that was composed between 1978 and 1980, but has since been removed from my catalog. I performed the complete work in recital at Brandeis University in February 1980, and looking back at that event, I am astonished (and slightly appalled) to realize how delusional I was in presuming that I could pull off a solo performance. I was not then, nor ever have been, much of a performing musician. But, true to form, had I not been so consistenly blind to my physical, intellectual, and spiritual deficiencies, I would never have elected to pursue a career as a musician in the first place. Go figure.

This recording, an enhanced and remixed piano solo, is a study in chutzpah. It's obvious what I am attempting to achieve stylistically, but too often my fingers get in the way... and yet, the energy and theatricality behind the performance are so naively assertive that somehow, it mostly works (at least for me), even the clumsy parts. This recording documents a period in my creative life before self-criticism took root and began stifling spontaneity. While there is much to said for carefully considered, well-honed craft, I mourn the loss of youthfully fearless impulsiveness, even when it resulted in my making an ass of myself.

I have titled this recording in honor of one of my favorite pianists and improvisers, an artist who never lost connection to his soul.

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