Water from an Ancient Well is a jazz album by South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim that was first released in 1986. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.Wikipedia
On one of my first visit to Cape Town I was having a drink with a black man who was a local. He pointed at a person with brown skin across the room and, said ¨the coloured guy over there is a good friend.¨ He was incredulous when I told him that in my country the term ¨coloured¨ was a derogatory term for a black man. He informed me that under the Apartheid regime, people were segregated into Blacks, Whites (mainly Afrikaans) and Coloureds (which were everyone else). Those terms are still used to describe people but are not considered racist and the severe ramifications of being in one group or the other are no longer proscribed by the government. Abdullah Ibrahim would have been a coloured person. The Wiki notes for this one are quite limited. As one can tell from the names of some of the songs, there is a political side to this. The song Mandela is an obvious one given he was sitting in Robben Island at the time this was released. Mannenberg Revisited was a well known and highly political song. I read that a copy of the record was snuck onto Robben Island and when Nelson Mandela heard it he remarked that ¨liberation is near¨. Mannenberg is about the forced removal of those defined as coloured people from a downtown neighbourhood to the suburbs of Cape Town. What boggles the mind is that these songs effectively conveyed the message of protest and uprising without lyrics. Song for Sathima is about his wife Sathima Bea Benjamin If you're interested, Spotify has a wonderful EP called African Songbird with three of her tunes including Africa which is an avant garde jazz sung with love for her Africa.
Gorgeous, sensitive, buttery smooth jazz. Wonderful. Like sinking into a warm, comfy mattress.
The music that plays when you get kicked out of a cantina.
Awfully good and easy-swinging. Highly polished in composition and tone and execution. There’s real elegance in the straightforwardness and simplicity of the playing and a richness and warmth from the large format. Just strong all the way around. Solid 4.
Some lovely Jazz! Going into my library.
Nice smooth swinging jazz. My type to listen too.
Great album - caught me by surprise. Has a timeless quality, many of the tracks harken back to roots in the 50s or 60s. Definitely a keeper!
I love Abdullah Ibrahim.
Although it was a little behind the times for the year this was released, it's an excellent assortment of original cool-jazz compositions. Ibrahim's piano is surprisingly sparse on here, but he sounds like a composed and stern father, who speaks up only when needed, and only as much as needed, to keep his somewhat wild, ambitious (and incredibly talented) children (the other musicians) in line. Speaking of the other musicians, dig the crazy bass on Manenberg Revisited, the unusual drum rhythms on Tuang Guru, the silky smooth saxophones on the title track and Song for Sathima, the wistful trombone on Sameeda, the self-assured flute on The Mountain. Only 2 slight critiques, the recording isn't as crisp as I'd like, and sounds more 50's than 80's, and the way all the songs finish with the same flourish is anticlimatic. OverallI, I'm really glad to have heard this and will be listening to more Abdullah Ibrahim in the future.
I did not know what to expect from this album. I’m a huge jazz fan but Ibrahim is not someone whose music I’m familiar with. He’s a pianist, but this is very much an ensemble effort. And it covers so much ground. It opens with Mandela, which really swings, and it never sits still. There are steamy, edgy tunes that reek if New York (Song For Sathima, Tuang Gura). Long, slow pieces (the title track & The Mountain). The Wedding is a beautiful tune in march time. I thought Mannenberg Revisited sounded very 60’s. Turns out it is a re-interpretation of a song he originally recorded in the early 70’s. A song which is often remembered as an unofficial national anthem. And the album ends a bit like it started, with the band really stretching out, on Sameeda. A terrific record.
Started good, then solemn, then next track sounds like the menu music or first level music from a child's video game 😂 kinda decent though, enjoyable at least.
Having just listened to Time out by the Dave Brubeck quartet i felt that the 30 years that separated the two albums hadn’t been kind to Jazz. It didn’t flow well for me, the transition from one track to another was too harsh at times. The tracks I enjoyed Mandela - quite punchy and upbeat, it’s gets the album off to a good start. Manenberg revisited- starts slow and builds up, whilst it’s quite repetitive it allows you to follow the beat and relax into it. Tuang guru - reminded me of the backing music to a 1950’s black and white cop film The ones I didn’t Sameeda- too “all over the place” with its beat, just couldn’t relax with it. There’s a couple of tracks I would listen to again, but not the whole album
The score to a looney tunes cartoon when nothing is happening.
Enjoyed this album a lot. Players are all amazing, so much to hear and discover. Will definitely listen to a few more times at least
Gorgeous jazz piece
Ahhh que bonito es lo vi ito
I've often grumbled against the glaring omissions in the jazz selections of this list, but with this particular album, I'm forced to admit that Dimery and co. simply dug gold. I'm not a jazz specialist, just an open-minded amateur, so I didn't know who Abdullah Ibrahim/Dollar Brand was at all. Therefore, I've listened to this record with absolutely zero expectations, and I must say I'm totally enthralled by it now. It started off in quite a subdued way, though. At first, "Mandela" sounded a little too big band-like, almost too quaint to my ears, in spite of the obviously important theme suggested by its name, especially coming from a South African musician. But then each track that followed grasped my attention in a different way, from the gentleness of "Song For Sathima" and the driven focus of "Marenberg Revisited" (a variation on an important musical milestone written by Ibrahim more than a decade earlier--and a significant instrumental statement against Apartheid), and this continuing up to the arabic flavors of "Tuang Guru" and the heartwrenching finale of the short ballad "The Wedding". Closer "Sameena" was also a huge surprise in the way its minimalistic, nearly atonal introduction on brass and winds steadily grew into a meditative piece that ensnared my ear up until the very last Just like for pianist Ibrahim, I didn't know the other performers on this record either, but they're all doing an excellent job conveying the myriad emotions and colors gathered in this tight, tight package. *Water From An Ancient Well*'s scope is so impressive, and its tracklisting is so dynamic--so varied yet so cohesive too--that it instantly got a 5-star mark from me. This sort of thing doesn't often happen, so you can be sure I'll return to that proverbial well from time to time... Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 877 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 67 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 30 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 27
Everything about this was great. The timing of where it came up for our group also could've helped. We needed something mellow.
I really like this. Makes me feel cheerful. Also having no lyrics makes it so good to listening when focus is needed. Loved it!
Love this album and love Jazz in general.
wowowowww. 7 artists!! “Song for Sathima” was genuinely so relaxing and romantic. nice groovy bass :D
i am surprised at how much i like this. the mellow saxophone and cool jazz vibe make it easy to appreciate and enjoy. it doesn't quite maintain that epic feel for the whole duration, but really solid.
Nice change of pace from the first two listens this week. Easy jazz, and would definitely listen again. 4 stars.
Very sweet and mellow. Easy listening.
Super Sound from the coolest of African Jazz Cats! Love it
Some nice smooth jazz. Again not my style but I couldn't complain about this one and it gets a positive mark.
saffa jazz, super chill, loved it
Had no clue what to expect - loved the jazzy vibe of this album
Nice jazzy stuff
Well this was quite pleasant! Very soothing. I enjoyed it. Very lyrical music which I enjoyed.
Kaunista ja kuulasta jazzia. Erityisesti avausbiisi ja nimikkokappale (joka puuttu Spotifysta, prkl) oli hyviä. 4/5
Huh, avausraita oli turhan iloinen "rallattelu", mutta sen jälkeen mukavaa kaunista jazzia. Nimikkobiisi olikin sitten ihan mieletön enkä oikeastaan tiedä, oonko kuullut parempaa jazz-tallennetta. Vangitsi meikän täysin. Sääli, että juuri se puuttui spotifysta (ja applelta). Suurin osa levystä ehkä 3/5, mutta pakko nostaa neloseen jo nimikkobiisin takia. Ja oli siellä pari muutakin nelosen ansaitsevaa hetkeä.
Mitä jazziin tulee, on kasari must ollu aika synkkää fuusiohelvetin aikaa. Tämä taas ei sitä oo, vaan flirttailee aika häikäilemättömästi kuuskytluvun NY-soundin kanssa. Siitähän minä tietty diggaan! 4/5
Nice! Love jazz, this is classic.
Nice chill out music, liked the title track especially.
Great band & music that Ive discovered because 1001 album generator. Thanks.
Þessi er ljómandi, renndi henni tvisvar og gæti hlustað oft aftur. Ekkert lag sem stendur mest upp úr, alveg solid stöff.
This one is really pretty. I love a good calming set of piano tracks. The title track was definitely the best, but it was all good. Everyone should invest time in piano music now and again. Absolutely worth a listen. Fave track: Water from An Ancient Well
What it feels like to step into a warm bath.
5/27/2022 - ALBUM #120 Today's Album: "Water from an Ancient Well" by Various Artists - This is a really smooth and impressive jazz album from a bunch of different artists. There really isn't anything to complain about here. The bassist is consistently laying down a solid groove, the accompanying band is excellent and well balanced, and the soloists are fairly decent. There are some occasional subpar solos, but others make up for it tenfold and beyond. There title track probably has one of the best trumpet solos I have ever heard and after playing trumpet for 10+ years, that should mean something. Overall this is a really impressive jazz album that's great put on in the background or sit down with a good pair of headphones and just enjoy from start to finish. The flow is great, the runtimes of the songs don't feel too long or bloated, and every song strikes a different and unique tone. Give this on a listen if you like some more laid back jazz that still knows how to lay down a funky groove. Highlights: Mandela, Manenberg Revisited, Water from an Ancient Well, The Mountain Score: 8/10 Excellent laid-back 80s jazz
great album from start to finish song for sathima is 10/10 very count basie-esque look forwards to listening to more not too much that really set it apart though 9.1/10
I really liked it especially Mandela. Would listen again and have some songs added to my liked songs now :) 4.3/5
Outstanding album. Superb compositions played and performed extraordinarily well.
Pretty good, but why did Mandela sound like King of the Road? The title track was also really cool but sounded a little familiar - like Blueberry Hill? Song for Sathima had a very beautiful opening 35s and was okay after that (but had some fuzzy sounds, like a radio out of range, when the sax would come in?). Manenberg Revisited has a cool, energetic sound - wish I knew more about its inspiration or message. The Wedding is probably my favorite on the album; sweet and soulful. The Mountain is a nice follow-up to it. Overall, a very cool and smooth sounding jazz album with various musicians who complement each other well.
It's weird, the title track on the album was NOT on Spotify. Had to go onto YouTube to hear it. It's interesting, the music reminded me a bit of Vince Guaraldi. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much. The other instruments really added something to it as well. I don't want to call it "classic" jazz, but it was a straight up jazz album. But definitely more of what you expect in a jazz album. I did enjoy this very much.
Cool, laid-back, smooth, sometimes it got intense, but a very enjoyable album start to finish. The type of music you can play in the background all day. Never heard of this before, so I'll be sure to listen to more from Ibrahim.
Very mellow, very cool.
reminds me of miles davis
What a great discovery. I’ll be coming back to this one regularly!
Really enjoyable jazz album - some fun tunes, some simply beautiful. Awesome bass player. Some glitches perhaps in the recording? At times the bari Sax was so far “behind the beat” (and behind the other horns) as to be distracting, especially on headphones. But I’ll be back.
I feel cozy now
Nice jazz with an interesting style. Enjoyed the first and third track.
I never listened to African jazz before so I didn't know what to expect, but I ended up liking this record a lot! It is both funky and soothing at times, and overall, very well produced
I lack the knowledge and intelligence to articulate how I feel about different jazz albums. But I liked this
UNAVAILABLE. 3 EVEN RATING
Jazz, en goede ook!
Relaxed jazz sounds Perfect to chill with 3.5/5
Super calm and super chill jazz album. Sounds like its straight out of the early 60s. Not much else to say tbh.
I wouldn't have thought a song titled 'Mandela' would be so jaunty, given the situation in South Africa in 1985, when this was released. That aside, I enjoyed this album. Really accessible and listenable jazz. Nice to listen to in a bar or over dinner.
Mandela doesn't sound like anyone is playing in the same time. the downbeats are all mixed up. Song For Sathima is alright! Water From An Ancient Well is the axis about which the entire album turns. the ultimate chill and jazz album. Sameeda is a weird closer. I like it but man it is weird in the context of the entire rest of the album.
det här var ändå rätt så gött
Surprisingly enjoyed whilst working away in the office. Still can't see me sticking this on again like most other Jazz.
So smooth. So soft. Sameeda has a killer solo.
3.1 - I saw the album cover and was totally expecting world music with some chanting (groan). Instead I got easy jazz. Now I'm not sure which I would've preferred. It's definitely sweet and soulful. It sounds like the Saturday Night Live band if they kept jamming on that final farewell song while the audience files out, leaving them to play to an empty studio.
jazzzzz, lækkert klaver, rimelig smooth, afslappende
Tissemandsjazz. Godt og sådan. Havde forventet lidt mere spice.
Nogen af titlerne lyder som noget man selv kunne have givet sangene, i en hashkoger, ud fra hvordan de lyder. Men god stemning, dog lidt uklart hvor vi sal hen.
I found this to be a very accessible album. You don't need to be a Jazz aficionado to enjoy this. It's an easy listen.
Too happy and “chill”
This was a pleasant surprise.
Los albums de jazz me suenan igual
first 30 sec of no1 song sound exactly like some polish song
Nice sound. The title track is missing from Spotify and Apple Music. It got a bit long at the end
Surprisingly bland and background music. Might need repeat listening
I’ve listened to some of Ibrahim’s more piano-based stuff in the past and liked it. The septet works for me. It’s good to hear trombones and baritone sax for a change. Often, bands like to give every soloist a chance to play in every song but that makes for very long songs, so I'm glad he didn't take that approach. The opening track has a bit of a Nawlins’, marchy feel to it and didn’t really catch my interest until the solos kicked in. The overall mood changes enough (which is impressive since one guy penned all the tunes) throughout the LP. I read that the Mannenberg Revisited track was an anti-apartheid anthem. In my opinion it’s not one of the strongest tracks on the LP. Along with track #7, it is a bit jazz-poppy for me.
-Generally nice jazz but just nothing exciting really happening. "Tuang Guru" had a little bit of groove to it but just overall plain.
Pretty enjoyable, even if the title track isn't on the Spotify version
Bit of fun ennit. Bit much in places but all good
Don't really know much jazz. But this was overall a nice listen, more background music for me than active listening. Liked "Mandela" and "The Wedding" the most.
Partijtje lekkere jazz met wat afrikaanse invloeden soms
I think I need to plead jazz ignorance again on this one. I listened to it happily enough but nothing struck me that forcefully. More Google Music nonsense with the whole album available except for the title track. I listened to a couple live versions to make up the experience but seriously what is that.
This is not what I was expecting from title, artist name, or album cover! I guess that one's on me. I wish there was more back story available on the Wiki, as that's one of the best bits about an undiscovered album for me. I assume the original book that lists these albums has descriptions. I'm sure that there's some political motivation behind this album. Anywho... this was a nice jazz album, but jazz isn't really my thing so I can't comment too much. My top pick is 'Song for Sathima', where the tenor sax (I believe) really shines. Beautiful!
Smooth jazz. It was so smooth but I'm not smooth enough to enjoy it.
Was pretty good. Not really my kind of thing, but did enjoy. A nice bit of smooth jazz for background while working.
Nice, classic, jazz
This was a new one on me. Jazz is still mysterious to me, but I did quite enjoy this.
Ihan hyvää jatsia. En kuitenkaan osaa mun plebikorvilla sanoa että onks tässä muuta erityistä kun että se ei oo julkastu 50-luvulla. Mutta voisin kuunnella uudestaan.
Alright jazz, wasn't bad wasn't great. Maybe it was Water from an Ancient well but it wasn't spectacular. You know, maybe it actually tasted a bit like old water.
Onvervalste Jazz; Het is niet zo mijn ding, maar dit album kan ik heel goed hebben. Als ik veel filmpjes over de natuur zou maken, zou dit perfecte achtergrondmuziek zijn. Dit alles in een taal die we allemaal spreken: instrumentaal. ***
This was a chill jazz album. Might listen to it again when in the mood for this sound.
It is very nice. 3/5
I’m sure that jazz-wise this is really good. Even for me, someone who does not get jazz, it wasn’t bad. Some songs I liked (much) better than others. I would much rather enjoy this music live where I can see the musicians playing and get in the atmosphere, it’s just not the same a as a layman to just listen.
This was nice enough jazz, nothing I'd ever listen to again and sounded really dated for 1986, but can't say anything bad about it. Didn't suck, didn't go for an hour and a half, etc. 3/5.
Toques de jazz y de música clásica. Fácil de escuchar. Agradable.
More interesting jazz than what I was expecting. World influences unlike the usual trios/quartets I typically associate with jazz.
mix between general jazz and a soundtrack that would fit a movie with a nice landscape
I always appreciate jazz more when a brass horn is involved. In this case, the tracks featuring the trombone were on point. There just weren't enough of them to make me get excited about the entire album. Best track: Sameeda
Enjoyable jazz album
it would be a good listen if i liked jazz but i don’t like jazz so it wasn’t a very good listen. would not listen again because i don’t like jazz. Not fair to give a bad rating. Well done Mr. Ibrahim anyway
I'm not the world's biggest jazz fan, but this kind of jazz I can get behind. It sounds pleasant, good for some background listening, always with a focus on melody. Sadly, the title track is blocked on Spotify and Youtube. Still, a good album. 3/5
Lively performances, makes for good background or tea/coffee music. It's solid, just nothing I think I'll revisit. Favorite tracks: "Water From An Ancient Well", "Sameeda"
Kind of borders between sounding nice and being boring, but it's mostly nice and easy to listen to.
Some jazz albums are outstanding out of the gate, but most need a few spins before I can really assess how I feel. Given I'm behind on my listening, rating this and moving on. Decent album, enjoyed it overall.
Embarrassed to admit this is a total blindspot in my jazz knowledge. Overall though this was a solid album ("Tuang Guru" was a standout)
Enjoyable, nothing much to say. First Listen?: Y Fav. Tracks: The Mountain, Tuang Guru, Manenber Revisited Rating: 2.8/5
Pree decent. Nothing particularly stuck out to me but it was enjoyable.
Pretty sold jazz album. Thought it had some unique flavors thrown in.
Nice, but a little boring 3/5
Very inoffensive Jazz. It’s okay but I’d rather listen to a lot of other jazz artists.
Du jazz très sympa. Quant à la critique au sujet du mariage de Charles, je vous promets qu'elle arrivera très prochainement, soyez patients.
Enjoyed the first few songs, turned into noise at some point
Enjoy the uptempo pace of Mandela. Not so much enjoying Sameeda, a bit to much of "true jazz" style and I am so lost as to where this melody is going.
It's fine jazz. Good background feels
Nice bit of jazz. Never really been my thing, but will definitely listen again
Maybe not something I would have listened to without this challenge, but there were parts that I really enjoyed.
A very nice album of easy listening jazz, beautifully arranged and played. Manenburg Revisited is the standout track for me. 3.5 stars
Sweet it’s jazz
It's really my failing that I can not fully appreciate each of the components that artistically create a great jazz album.
I don’t know much jazz but every-time I listen to any I find it very calming. I might revisit this album and artist
compilation album cringe
While I enjoy jazzy rock, pure instrumental jazz simply doesn't manage to catch and hold my attention well. The music is well executed, but never rises above the level of background music. At times pleasant background music, but more often than not, it feels like the tracks just sort of drone on, going off on all sorts of tangents along the way, but never really going anywhere specific.
A South African jazz album released in 1986. Super chill and jazzy vibes to complement my morning work. I don't go out of my way to listen to jazz, but I can easily appreciate the music.
H20 so bland
The best jazz we’ve had yet (which isn’t saying much).
Very "nice" conventional 80s/90s jazz. Pretty, and not to say boring, but not terribly attention-grabbing. Interchangeable with 101 other very good, but not very unique jazz albums, so... not what I'd hope for from this list.
Was expecting some world folk music, not a soft jazz collection. I don’t quite understand the theme of this album. Individually, there is not a bad track, but together, it is disjointed.
Easy listening that still slaps.
this was a tepid listen, easy listening pop jazz is not my jam.
I accidentally started off by listening to the wrong album by Ibrahim by mistake and I enjoyed that other album way more haha so that put us off to a bad start. The feeling I got from this was that I was in a 00s chick flick at a posh wedding or garden party being offered a tray of canapes. Each song didn't contain any surprises they were very one-note and I don't find that very exciting. Meh - was waiting for the African and Indian influences I was promised and I didn't catch them (my fault but that was disappointing)
world jazz hmmm
With this album, there is nothing great about it but conversely, there is nothing terrible either. As individual songs, they are not bad, chill jazz, background music basically. Here lies the problem, the songs combined into an album have no coherence. They are all just background cafe jazz. There are no standout tracks. As songs, I would give 3 stars, but as an album, it is lacking...
It was a jazz album. I don't know a lot about jazz but it didn't seem remarkable. The wiki had zero info so I'm guessing there's no real story behind this album.
Pleasant enough but meh
Its very relaxing but also quite underwhelming
I'm sorry, I'm too hyper for this. It is slow, nice, music for like the intermission in a Jazz club while you wait for the next person to sit at the piano. It is fine, nice, sweet, slow, i'm falling asleep.
This looked intriguing. South African jazz. I was expecting some rhythms with lively brass. The upbeat opening track "Mandela" is ace. It then all becomes a bit dreary and unremarkable. Disappointed. 2
I am the biggest jazz hater this side of the galaxy, but even I have to admit that this album has some alright sounds. Two outta five, probably the highest rating I've given to a jazz album so far.
Un jazz amb elements de world music i un toc espiritual que li dona un aire diferent. No m'ha captivat, malgrat tot
Jazz, kinda boring, maybe don't appreciate it like I should
Soothing background music
I’m sure it’s great. I’m just not a jazzy person.
Kinda disappointed that this wasn't available in Apple Music and that I had to listen to it in YouTube Music. LOL. Overall decent background music, but didn't seem like anything special.
I feel very meh about this album. Soft and pleasant jazz, but nothing at all unique or interesting about it. 4/10
not really my jam tbh
This is a perfectly serviceable jazz album. I'm not sure what else to say about it. It's fine background music, not that exciting. Even among jazz I would not have picked it out of a lineup. There wasn't one solo that made me catch my breath.
I found this bland. When the first track came on, I assumed that it was from c. 1960, and was surprised that it was from 25 years later. The ensemble playing was nice, and I liked the bass solo in the tittle track. The tunes are pleasant enough, but nothing really grabbed me. I had never heard of this artist before, and have no idea why this is on the list. They are not an important artist, this album is far from ground-breaking or innovative. Surely there are far better and more notable jazz albums that deserved a place on the list above this. (I am clearly feeling pretty cranky this week. I haven't really liked anything.)
Jaaaaá frekar litlaus djazz. Gerði ekkert mikið fyrir mig.
Besides recording quality, there is very little that would distinguish this from jazz 30 prior to when this was recorded. I suppose most jazz hit the same plateau after the fusion experiments of the 70s. Since the title track wasn't available on Spotify, I listened to a live recording of it with his trio and I preferred it by far to anything on this album. As usual, I prefer jazz in smaller arrangements. Anything beyond a quintet is generally too much for me, unless we're talking about Miles Davis' fusion stuff.
Ich habe meine Limiten und dieses Album hat es depassiert.
Pleasant but not unique
Rambled a little too much for me
I like Jazz, but I'm not well versed in it. I tend to err towards the out there, or improv stuff. First impressions of this are pretty inoffensive coffee shop jazz, from accomplished musicians. Does it grab me? Well Mandela didn't particularly, but I was much more into Song for Sathima. Near the end now and yes, it's nice enough, not the kind of thing that will live long in my memory though. And I would hardly call it essential listening amongst the vast pantheon of jazz out there.
If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Abdullah Ibrahim. Don't know much about jazz so I can't really review it. Would I re-listen? Nope. 🌟
I don't like jazz
Ha... I brim with hope that I would one day endure an instrumental jazz album. Today is not that day
not my jam
Cant give 0 stars so 1 it is. Didnt finish it as I cant stand Jazz and skipped though the tracks to see if there way something I could listen the whole way through, alas no.
Straight, middle of the road Jazz. Not for me at all.
Not sure how this achieved Classic status. It is entirely forgettable. I was hoping for the south African jazz equivalent of Graceland. But there is not a whisper of Africa to my ears. Cover art 2/5 nice colours
I'm just not a jazz person. Didn't even finish...
Det är så tråkigt med friformsjazz!!!!!
Niet door te komen, na 2 nummers gestopt met luisteren..