He is another African pianist in the South African jazz scene. After Abdullah Ibrahim, formerly Dollar Brand, whose “African Piano” was a sort of programmatic manifesto, here is Nduduzo Makhathini: he comes from a geographic area known as the Zulu kingdom of Dingane, the successor of legendary Shaka in 1828.
Music and ritual practices are symbolically linked, which influenced the artistic development of the South African pianist, as well as church music and American jazz pianists such as McCoy Tyner, Don Pullen, Randy Weston, and Andrew Hill. Through his mentor Bheki Mseleku, Makhathini was deeply impacted by John Coltrane’s music.
From the beginning, Nduduzo Makhathini’s jazz music intended to “mirror or evoke the way my people danced, sung, and spoke”. This original path can be heard in his piano solo performances: his performing and composing work brings people to an ancestral dimension that has little or nothing to do with jazz music from the North of the world. After all, isn’t jazz the most inclusive music capable of collecting and crossing with the cultures of the world? If someone still needs proof, Jazz at Lincoln Center hosted a collaboration in February between Nduduzo Makhathini and Hamilton de Holanda, the Brazilian bandolim virtuoso well-known at Umbria Jazz.