The Jazz Epistles
Superstar pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, a revered figure in jazz for over six decades, comes to BAM for two nights only to commemorate “South Africa’s greatest bebop band of all time” (NPR). Together for barely a year in the late 1950s, the Jazz Epistles—which included Ibrahim, as well as the great trumpeter Hugh Masekela and several others—were a short-lived sensation, breaking attendance records in Cape Town, channeling jazz giants from the US, and recording the first all-black modern jazz record in the country’s history. Yet the apartheid government, threatened by their progressive message, ultimately shut it down.
In this electrifying night of music, Ibrahim, his band Ekaya, and special guests look back on this near-mythical group, which embodied freedom and modernity at a time when their country began missing it the most.