The extraordinary South African pianist meets his countryman, the late, very great bassist Johnny Dyani, and the result is one of the single most beautiful recordings of the '70s. The duo mix in traditional African and Islamic songs and perform with a fervor and depth of feeling rarely heard in or outside of jazz. From the opening traditional Xhosa song, "Ntsikana's Bell," the rich, sonorous approach of these two musicians is evident, both singing in stirring fashion, Ibrahim guttural and serious, Dyani as free and light as a swallow. Ibrahim treats the listener to some of his all-too-rarely heard flute work on the following track, using Kirk-ian techniques of sung overtones in a gorgeous original.
The last and reformed editions of Brand X, all sans Phil Collins, are heard on this double CD set of live performances in Chicago and New York City, respectively. Founding members John Goodsall (electric guitar) and Percy Jones (electric bass guitar) lead the band through classic fusion territory familiar to fans of the band; most of their best material is heard at sometime or another on this two hour excursion. For the Chi-town dates, drummer Kenwood Dennard, percussionist Morris Pert, and keyboardist Robin Lumley comprise perhaps the best overall talent of the many incarnations of Brand X. Highlights include the galloping guitar and klip-klop percussion that inform"Disco Suicide" with a frequently repeated second melody.
Is There Anything About? is the seventh album by British jazz fusion group Brand X. It is the last album to feature longstanding members Robin Lumley and Phil Collins. It was assembled from outtakes from the 1979 sessions. These sessions produced around twenty tracks which became Product (1979), Do They Hurt? (1980) and Is There Anything About? (1982). "Modern, Noisy and Effective" is the backing track to "Soho" with a new keyboard line overdubbed over the top of it. "A Longer April" is just an extended version of "April" from Product, with a bit of synth noise added in the middle. "TMIU-ATGA" is taken from an old cassette tape running in the studio when the band were improvising.
Brand New’s fifth album stands as a monument to their gradual evolution. It is a wise and vulnerable conclusion for a rock band who were crucial in shaping a scene, a sound, and many emotions.