Blue Note Records and Universal Music Group Africa Announces Creation of New Imprint “Blue Note Africa”

BLUE NOTE RECORDS AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP AFRICA
ANNOUNCE THE CREATION OF A NEW IMPRINT

BLUE NOTE AFRICA

BLUE NOTE AFRICA LAUNCHES THIS SPRING WITH THE RELEASE OF
NDUDUZO MAKHATHINI’S NEWEST ALBUM IN THE SPIRIT OF NTU

The legendary Jazz label Blue Note Records and Universal Music Group Africa have announced the creation of Blue Note Africa, an exciting new imprint dedicated to signing Jazz artists from across the African continent, bringing them to a global audience, and promoting a cultural exchange of ideas that transcends borders. Blue Note Africa will launch this Spring with the release of South African pianist and composer Nduduzo Makhathini’s luminous new album In The Spirit Of Ntu.

“Blue Note has stood the test of time by continuing to adapt but keeping its focus on discovering and introducing Jazz talent to the world,” says Sipho Dlamini, CEO of Universal Music Africa. “The opportunity to create Blue Note Africa and provide a channel for African Jazz talent to have a home in the U.S., with a dedicated and passionate team lead by a legend in his own right – Don Was, is very exciting. We can now walk the African Jazz journey, from Cape to Cairo to California.”

“African music has been a major creative tributary for nearly every album in Blue Note’s extensive catalog,” says Blue Note President Don Was. “So it’s a great honor for us to partner with Sipho and his talented Universal Music Africa team in this new endeavor. Together, we will shine a global light on the incredible music emanating from Africa today.”

* * *

If you trace the roots of American Jazz back to its source, the path leads to Africa, and the exchange of musical ideas between the two continents is a thread that runs throughout the entire progression of Jazz music throughout the 20th century to this day. In 1947, the legendary American Jazz drummer and Blue Note legend Art Blakey visited Africa for the first time, a trip that was meant to be a few months but ended up lasting a couple years as Blakey travelled to Nigeria and Ghana. It was an experience that would have a profound effect on Blakey both religiously and musically and led to a series of Blue Note albums that were deeply influenced by African percussion including Orgy In Rhythm (1957), Holiday for Skins (1958), and The African Beat (1962), the latter of which featured traditional African drummers including Solomon Ilori who would release his own Blue Note album African High Life in 1963.

Around the same time in the late-50s, a fertile Jazz scene began to develop in South Africa led by the trailblazing band The Jazz Epistles, a group inspired by American Jazz groups including Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers that featured trumpeter Hugh Masekela and pianist Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim). As the restrictions, censorship, and violence of apartheid worsened in the early-60s, Masekela and Ibrahim left the country and went on to become global ambassadors of South African Jazz. But generations of South African Jazz musicians also stayed, enduring the hardships of apartheid but managing to create a distinctive and vibrant Jazz scene that continues to flourish today.

The pianist McCoy Tyner further explored African-American connections on his late-60s and early-70s Blue Note albums with pieces like “African Village,” “Message from the Nile,” and “Asante.” In 2008, the brilliant Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke released Karibu, the first of several boundary-pushing Blue Note albums that seamlessly blended the sound of both continents.

In 2018, Universal Music Group Africa signed the visionary pianist and composer Nduduzo Makhathini, a leader of the current South African Jazz scene whose 2nd UMG album Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds was released jointly on Blue Note Records. The album drew wide acclaim across Africa, Europe, and the United States, with The New York Times naming it one of the “Best Jazz Albums of 2020” and DownBeat naming Nduduzo among their “25 for the Future,” a short list of Jazz artists with the potential to shape the genre.

Now the partnership between Blue Note Records and Universal Music Group Africa expands with the creation of Blue Note Africa.

Blue Note Records

MORE News on T.U.M.S.!

Soul Singer Willie Clayton Releases Rendition of Classic Hit "Let's Stay Together" | WATCH NEW VIDEO...
Jazz Guitarist Tim Bowman Releases New Track "Ocean Breeze" | LISTEN!
Music Group Ghost-Note Releases New Funk Anthem “Where’s Danny?” | LISTEN!
Al Green's Greatest Hits Release Now In Dolby Atmos
Gospel Songstress Lisa Norris-Jackson Releases New Single "God Kept Me" | LISTEN!
Jazz Guitarist Blake Aaron to Release New Album "Love and Rhythm" on April 19th, 2024 | LISTEN!
Violinist Artaska Strings Releases New Album "Dreams" | LISTEN!
Guitarist Joe Taylor Releases New Album "Westside Chill" | LISTEN!
R&B Singer J.Red the Nephew Releases New Single "Should've Been Home" | LISTEN!
Gospel Singer Cory Henry to Release New Project "CHURCH" on February 25th, 2024 | LISTEN to 2 New Si...
Saxophonist Kenny Garrett and Svoy to Release New Album "Who Killed AI?" on April 12th, 2024
R&B/Jazz Guitarist Jimmy B Releases New Track "My Old Street" | LISTEN!
Danish Pianist Rasmus Sørensen Announces Double Album Release: "Balancing Act" & "Traits" on March 1...
Gospel Singer Melvin Crispell, III Releases New Single "He's Never Failed Me Yet" | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
Trumpeter Lin Rountree Releases New Single "One You" feat. Algebra Blessett | LISTEN!
Gospel Artist Calvin Bridges Releases New Single "No Weapon" | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
Sax Legend Sonny Rollins - "Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings" (4-LP Set) to Arrive ...
James Brown’s Unreleased Single "We Got To Change" (3-Track EP) | Coming February 16th, 2024 | LISTE...
Gospel Singer Shonda English Releases New Single "There Wouldn't Be A Me" | LISTEN!
Christian McBride Releases New Single with Edgar Meyer - “Philly Slop” | LISTEN!
Pianist Robert Prester and Singer Adriana Samargia Releases New Album "Quenara" | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
Saxophonist Melissa Aldana to Release New Project "Echoes Of The Inner Prophet" on April 5th, 2024 |...
R&B Legends Glenn Jones & Eric Nolan Releases New Ballad "I Wanna Be Closer" feat. Saxophonist Tony ...
Soul Singer Alex Harris to Release Debut New Album "Back To Us" on April 12th, 2024 | LISTEN to New ...
The "Bob Marley And The Wailers – One Love: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" is Available NOW | W...
Gospel Singer Me'Kayla Releases New Single "Werking" feat. ChurchPPL | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
R&B Singer Ricky Jones Releases New Album "Crazy Sexy" | LISTEN!
Soul Singer Erica Falls to Release Forthcoming Album "Emotions" on March 1st, 2024 | LISTEN to New S...
R&B Singer Eric Roberson Releases New Track "You" | LISTEN! Announces New 30th Anniversary Tour for ...
Legendary Alto Saxophonist Charles McPherson to Release New Album "Reverence" on April 26th, 2024
Ethio-Jazz Vocalist Meklit Releases New Single "Antidote" | LISTEN! New 6-Track EP "Ethio Blue" Comi...
Gospel Singer Brent Jones to Release 4 New Albums in 2024 | LISTEN!
R&B/Soul Singer Darnell Kendricks Releases New Single "What A Wonderful Night" | LISTEN!
Chicago Jazz Drummer Kabir Dalawari to Release New Project "Last Call" on April 5th, 2024
Rising R&B Singer Kimani Jackson Releases New Single "Good Man" | LISTEN! New EP "Icebreaker" is Ava...
Gospel Ensemble Common Hymnal Releases New Single "God of Color" | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
Up and Coming R&B Songstress Raquel Rodriguez to Release New Single "Good To You" on February 16th, ...
Saxophonist Charles Lloyd Releases New Single "Monk's Dance" | LISTEN!
IIG x Tawatha Agee to Release New Single "Moonlight" on February 9th, 2024 | LISTEN!
Guitarist Ron Bosse to Release New Single "Bossman" feat. Jeff Lorber on February 2nd, 2024 | WATCH ...