Nduduzo Makhathini boards John Coltrane's music train

08 October 2019 - 19:17
By Mpho Sibanyoni
Jazz artist Nduduzo Makhathini has signed with one of the world's finest recording labels.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi Jazz artist Nduduzo Makhathini has signed with one of the world's finest recording labels.

Local jazz artist Nduduzo Makhathini is walking in the footsteps of international jazz icon John Coltrane after he announced this week that he has joined Blue Note Records, one of the world's biggest jazz recording labels.

The American jazz record label also confirmed the catch on social media, saying Makhathini was due to belt out a new album soon.

Makhathini, the "incredible pianist & composer", who is currently in the US, made the  announcement on social media.

Founded in 1939, Blue Note was the recording stable where other celebrated stars like Dianne Reeves, Norah Jones and Anita Baker made their mark.

"It's official I'm signed to @bluenoterecords I'm humbled, so grateful to form part of their long linage and legacy," Makhathini wrote on his Facebook account.

The record label wrote: "Keep an ear out for this incredible pianist & composer from South Africa: Nduduzo Makhathini. New music from Nduduzo coming out this fall on Blue Note."

The 37-year-old Makhathini has recorded with other jazz icons like Zim Ngqawana, Busi Mhlongo, Herbie Tsaoeli and Thandiswa Mazwai.

Makhathini told Sowetan on Wednesday evening that joining Blue Note would help his music to reach more international jazz enthusiasts.

"Of course, part of the greater idea is to impact on global jazz markets. I think of it this way, at least informed by my work as a sangoma, so many messages are sent through me from our ancestors that were silences by slave trade, colonisation and apartheid – my task therefore as a healer, is to vocalise these historical silences through performance (ritual) and celebrate the voices of my ancestors all around the world.

"Blue Note Records, given their history and global connections will assist in projecting this important work all around the world," he responded via email.

Signs that he would sign with Blue Note started showing when Makhathini featured a Blue Note signee and alto saxophonist Logan Richardson on his nineth album, Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds, which was released recently.

The collaboration saw him do his debut performance at the Blue Note's Winter Jazz Festival.

Makhathini was yesterday still in New York to serenade the yanks at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with his music.

“Yooooooooo NYC come out this evening, there is some special music for you at @schomburgcentre in collaboration with @carnegiehall See you there (sic)!!!,” he wrote on Facebook.