tribute abdullah

A few years ago in Johannesburg during one of my solo concerts there was thunderous applause from the audience - such as I had never experienced before and since.

"Wow," I said to myself. "What did I play to elicit such a response? Let me try to play it again."

However, as a musician once remarked, "Damn jazz musician - can't play the same thing twice."

So I tried to repeat to the best of my recollection the same improvised line that had drawn the applause. There was no response from the audience. Perhaps the line was incorrect.

So I continued with other improvised lines.

Suddenly, and at a most unexpected and unpredictable point, there was the thunderous applause again.

This audience must either be super-hip or totally stupid.

Then a young man tip-toed onto the stage and left an open note on the piano for me to read: NELSON MANDELA JUST WALKED INTO THE CONCERT HALL.

Madiba, thank you for allowing me to share accolades with you, even if it was for me only a brief, misinterpreted moment.