Song of the Day: Malcolm Jiyane Tree-O – Umkhumbi kaMa
Johannesburg multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Jiyane (SPAZA: UPRIZE!) releases a new song Umkhumbi kaMa, the first single from long-awaited debut LP UMDALI. The album will be released on 12th November via Mushroom Hour Half Hour.
Malcolm Jiyane is a generous sideman and bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, who stands at the vanguard of his prodigious generation of jazz musicians. Operating from the center and the fringes of the South African jazz scene, the trombonist (and pianist) is an enigmatic yet charismatic galvanizer of his contemporaries, able to put them through their paces in his own compositions while giving them enough room to interpret them anew. In UMDALI, his debut album as frontman, Jiyane delivers not only a major contribution to the canon -- one shaped around dedications to key figures in his personal and professional life -- but an honest snapshot of his personal circumstances at the time of recording. In that period several years ago, Jiyane was dealing with the death of a band member, the birth of a daughter and the passing of his beloved mentor Johnny Mekoa, founder of the Music Academy of Gauteng, which Jiyane attended from a young age. These life-altering events give shape to the music's emotional register and its thematic concerns.
Positioned at the edge of this precipice, Jiyane turned to a core of talented musicians mostly based around Soweto's jamming scene, as well as to key figures in his own creative trajectory. The coterie of bassist Ayanda Zalekile, drummer Lungile Kunene, percussionist Gontse Makhene (SPAZA, Shabaka & The Ancestors), pianist Nkosinathi Mathunjwa, saxophonist Nhlanhla Mahlangu and trumpeters Brandon Ruiters and Tebogo Seitei shrouded him in his time of need, providing intuitive musicianship through which to execute his ideas, and, more importantly, life-affirming comradeship. Jiyane is nothing if not the product of astute mentorship from elders and peers alike. Given the late Mekoa's stature in South African jazz, trombonist Jonas Gwangwa (also late) would have been among regular visitors to the academy, imprinting on the young Jiyane not only the breadth of South African music traditions but also the science of how to lead musical ensembles without stifling individual contribution.
Listen to Malcolm Jiyane Tree-Onew single Umkhumbi kaMa, from long-awaited debut LP UMDALI:
Umkhumbi kaMa, a jazz-funk track celebrating the creative force as inhabited by women, the motif to Herbie Hancock's Ostinato (Suite for Angela) is a clear reference, connecting in one swift move, not only the musical traditions of the Black Atlantic but also the struggles and triumphs of women across space and time. Workshopped and recorded within two days in Johannesburg, UMDALI, not unlike Miles Davis' landmarkKindofBlue, stretches our idea of what it means to improvise within the context of jazz. With this debut, Malcolm Jiyane Tree-O has created a work that is not only keenly aware of what came before it, but blazing a trail to the future.
Watch the video below ofMalcolm Jiyane Tree-Onew single Umkhumbi kaMa, from long-awaited debut LP UMDALI:
Other wicked songs and projects worth checking this week:
Blue Lab Beats, Kiefer - Dat It
Tall Black Guy, Ozay Moore, KUMBAYA - Viberite
Cookin Soul, Freddie Gibbs - Thug Till It's Over
New Cool Collective - Shiku
Irreversible Entanglements - Lágrimas Del Mar
Barrett Martin Group - Please Come Back, She Said To The Sun