Nduduzo Makhathini

Thursday, June 22nd @ 8pm (doors @ 7pm)


Nduduzo Makhathini is a South African pianist and composer whose musical journey has been deeply influenced by the rich cultural heritage of his homeland. Growing up in umGungundlovu, a peri-urban landscape with a historical significance as the site of the Zulu king Dingane kingdom, Makhathini experienced the symbiotic connection between music and ritual practices. Inspired by the Zulu warrior code, which emphasizes the role of music in motivation and healing, Makhathini incorporates this profound connection into his artistic vision.

Makhathini’s musical upbringing also involved exploring various churches in search of music, while being inspired by legendary South African jazz figures like Bheki Mseleku, Moses Molelekwa, and Abdullah Ibrahim. He appreciates the emotional depth that earlier musicians brought to their music, a quality he believes is being gradually lost in contemporary South African jazz. As a pianist, Makhathini found his voice through the music of John Coltrane’s classic quartet, particularly Coltrane’s album “A Love Supreme,” which resonated with the way his people danced, sang, and spoke. He also draws inspiration from American jazz pianists such as Andrew Hill, Randy Weston, and Don Pullen.

Apart from his musical pursuits, Makhathini is an educator and researcher, serving as the head of the music department at Fort Hare University. He has performed at prestigious festivals worldwide, including the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Essence Festival in New Orleans and South Africa, and the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. Makhathini has collaborated with notable artists like Shabaka Hutchings, Wynton Marsalis, Logan Richardson, and Nasheet Waits. In addition to producing albums for his peers, he has released several acclaimed albums under his own label, Gundu Entertainment, earning him multiple awards.

Makhathini’s music reflects a fusion of his cultural roots, his deep appreciation for jazz legends, and his desire to preserve the unique nuances of South African jazz. With his soulful compositions and captivating performances, he continues to make a significant impact on the contemporary jazz scene.

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