Everything from his career to his love for art was a fair game. Abdullah is a person who has a lot of exceptional interests and hobbies. He is an enthusiastic amateur photographer who proved more than once to have a fantastic eye for portraying the world in his own style. That’s not the end; this esteemed analogue photographer has extreme love for music, especially when it is Jazz. In his countenance and in his speech appreciation for Jazz is very evident. Come; let’s share his encounter with his passion and more…
Where does the passion for jazz and why?
Music has an incredible way of shaping one's thoughts and feelings. Growing up surrounded by music is one of life’s greatest joys and I was very lucky in this part as my childhood is completely filled with music. One person that truly fostered my passion for it was my mother. A small memory of her that brings a smile to my face every day - her playing the works of Frédéric Chopin and Claude Debussy while she was driving me to school.
I have a particular affection for Jazz which was developed when I first heard Billie Holiday (Lady Day) singing "I'll be seeing you". Since then, I embarked on a journey of discovering this wonderful music form. Jazz and its evolution are rooted in people, it speaks of their happiness and sufferings especially at a time where racial prejudice was at its peak in the United States. Hence, it became a form of artistic revolt challenging the established status quo both musically and socio-politically. Jazz was new, fresh, and excitingly loud thereby attracted young brilliant musicians and even more music fans of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
Delving into the evolution of jazz with its different styles and forms has made me appreciate it even more and be continuously on the lookout for what is new and upcoming.
What are your biggest musical influences?
I would have to say the Brazilian composer, pianist, and songwriter who is Antonio Carlos Jobim, a pioneer of bossa nova, who wrote "The Girl from Ipanema".
Additionally, the great trumpet player Miles Davis whose works revolutionized Jazz and paved the way for great musicians such as Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (Drums).
Do you have any memory of any jazz place you want to share?
Two years ago, I attended a live performance performed by the wonderful Stacey Kent at Ronnie Scott's - London's most renowned jazz club in Soho. I got a chance to meet and talk to the musician and mentioned that I would have loved for her to sing Henri Salvador's "Jardin d'hiver". She promised to sing the song while she performs for the next day only if I attend it. So, the next day I attended and wrote a card to Stacey reminding her of the encounter. She ended her performance that night with "Jardin d'hiver" which she dedicated to me! To have your name called out from that stage left me feeling ecstatic given the club's history (established in 1959); the same stage where Nina Simone performed in 1984.
What living musician do you admire most? Why?
If I had to choose one I would have to say the French-Lebanese trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf. Mostly for his unique style which merges both Middle Eastern and European sounds.
What are your favorite jazz places?
How would you describe that it is for you to live in the present?
For me, Living In The Present means being surrounded by my close friends while listening to jazz records and catching up the moments.