Time for Maxolo’s cool jazz
Billy Suter MIX of songs from her popular debut album Time, as well as jazz standards of a local and international flavour, are on the bill for acclaimed jazz vocalist Lindiwe Maxolo’s concert this evening at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Scheduled for 5.30pm for 6pm, the event will see Maxolo share the spotlight with double-bass ace Thembinkosi Mavimbela, trumpeter Sthe Bhengu, drummer Lungile Kunene and pianist Jacob Thomo.
The venue is on the second level of the campus’s Shepstone Building.
Maxolo, who last performed locally early last year, accompanying Mbuso Khoza at the Jazzy Rainbow and Pinetown’s Rainbow Restaurant, is on a fiveprovince tour of South Africa.
She will visit East London and Port Elizabeth after tonight’s gig, which marks the start of her tour. Then she heads for Cape Town, Polokwane and Bloemfontein.
Although she is planning video shoots and a new album later in the year, she is concentrating now on sharing her music and, besides touring, also hopes to make some festival appearances soon.
Born in the far south of Gauteng, a township called Boipatong – “Yes, the one that Brenda Fassie wrote and sang about” – Maxolo first cut her teeth singing at church and school performances, and knew from an early age that she wanted to make singing a career.
Since attaining her honours degree in jazz music (cum laude) at UCT, she has
Abeen riding a wave of success, resulting in Time, her debut jazz collection.
The album was nominated for a South African Music Award (Sama) for best new jazz album last year, a category won by Herbie Tsoaeli’s African Time.
“I was so grateful and elated when I heard about that nomination. It’s a testament to everyone who worked on the album,” she says.
She says she was thrilled Tsoaeli scooped the award as it was he who featured on double-bass on all the tracks on her album.
“Recording Time independently opened my eyes, and assisted in my growth professionally and as an artist.
“It stretched me so much… incredibly so,” she adds.
The collection was recorded in 2011 at the SABC’s Auckland Park recording studios and the Mavovo Studio which is owned by musician Themba Mkhize.
“The album’s overriding theme is to be reflective on spiritual matters and love for mankind, and to be inspirational,” says Maxolo, who wrote seven of the 13 featured songs.
“It was an honour to have giants of the industry working on the album – the likes of Johnny Chonco, Johan Mthethwa, Tsoaeli, Ayanda Sikade, Mthunzi Mvubu, Andile Yenana, Mbuso Khoza, Malcolm Jiyani, Sisa Sophazi and Maxwell Vidima, led by the incredible Nduduzo Makhathini.”
Maxolo has dabbled in Afro-jazz, pop and gospel music, but it is jazz and gospel that remain her passion.
Vocally, she has been described as “a cross between Tania Maria and Oumou Sangare, with Busi Mhlongo’s sensibilities – pitchy and infused with the confidence of someone who’s comfortable with fronting a high-brow jazz trio”.
Her achievements have included winning the 2002 Afro Vocal category in the Old Mutual Jazz Encounters Competition; opening for the legendary Lee Ritemour; working with Sibongile Khumalo and Mkhize on their project called Soul ’n’ Turf; and performing with the UCT Big Band. She also co-founded Joburg jazz band Chilli & Lime.
Admission for this evening’s concert is R40 (R20 for senior citizens, R15 for students). Tickets are available at the door. For more information, phone Thuli at 031 260 3385.
Lindiwe Maxolo performs from 6pm today on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.