South African pianist Adolph Johannes "Dollar" Brand was born in Cape Town in 1934. After his conversion to Islam in 1968, he changed his name to Abdullah Ibrahim. He was only 15 years old when he set out on his career as a professional pianist. In 1959 he performed with the group Jazz Epistles on Jazz in Africa, the first jazz album recorded in South Africa. In 1962 he left his homeland and ultimately took up residence in New York. The magic of Ibrahim lies in his capacity to blend the rhythms and colors of South Africa with jazz improvisation. In 1964, Duke Ellington was so impressed by one of the South African's live concerts that he immediately arranged for a recording that resulted in the album Duke Ellington Presents The Dollar Brand Trio. Ibrahim's compositions have been arranged for large orchestras and he has even written film scores including for the well-known French film Chocolat. However, it is when playing with a trio that his true musical identity is best expressed.