For one night only, pianist Nduduzo Makhathini plans to fill Cistern Yard with healing and spirituality through his performance in Spoleto’s Wells Fargo Jazz series and here is what you should know:
Raised in a lush and rugged South African landscape, you will find music and ritual practices are symbolically linked in Makhathini’s improvisatory sets. Embracing the histories of South African jazz legends Bheki Mseleku, Moses Molelekwa, and Abdullah Ibrahim, Makhathini also blends influences from the great American jazz canon—like John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Randy Weston—for a cross-continental, multilayered melodic groove.
A Little More…
Makhathini’s work in jazz pays great homage to his experience as a traditional Zulu healer. The Zulu, in fact the African warrior code, is deeply reliant on music for motivation and healing. This deeply embedded symbiosis is key to understanding Makhathini’s vision.
The pianist released his Blue Note debut Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds in 2020 which earned wide critical acclaim and many end-of-the-year “Best Of” lists. Active as an educator and researcher, Makhathini is the head of the music department at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape. He has performed at renowned festivals including the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Essence Festival (in both New Orleans and South Africa) and made his debut appearances at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City, as well as Jazz at Lincoln Center where he was a featured guest with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on their 3-night musical celebration, The South African Songbook in Rose Theater. His new album, In the Spirit of NTU, was just released on Blue Note Records.
To get a feel for Nduduzo’s latest album and other artists like him coming to Spoleto this year, check out our playlist on Spotify.
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Nduduzo Makhathini will take the stage at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard on Monday. May 30.