Nduduzo Makhathini

2020 looked mighty bright for Nduduzo Makhathini. In January, jazz fans and critics alike jammed themselves into the Zürcher Gallery at the NYC Winter Jazzfest to get a glimpse of the rising star pianist. The buzz was real for the first South African artist ever to be signed to Blue Note Records.

Siphiwe Mhlambi

We are all freaking out. Take a moment to center yourself.

Blue Note’s newest recording artist, pianist and composer Nduduzo Makhathini, also practices as a sangoma, a traditional South African healer. And in the face of our frightening global pandemic, he offers a message of hope.

Siphiwe Mhlambi / Blue Note Records

Last year, pianist Nduduzo Makhathini played a crucial supporting role on an album rooted in the culture of the Nguni people, who can be found throughout his native South Africa.

WBGO

No two paths are alike through the Winter Jazzfest, which has been a fond ritual of musical overload for more than 15 years.

As usual, the WBGO team hit the ground running during this edition of the fest: broadcasting live performances from the Bowers & Wilkins Sound Lounge; participating in panel discussions like “Jazz & Gender”; conducting artist interviews, or making connections; and just generally covering a whole lot of ground, both musical and literal.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

It’s time to start making your plans.

After all, the Winter Jazzfest is right around the corner — and its wild profusion of sounds and scenes can feel totally overwhelming, without a little prep. 

Blue Note Records

Take Five goes international this week, with artists from South Africa, Germany, Cuba, Spain, Israel and the UK.