Women in Jazz
University of Cape Town graduate Thandi Ntuli has been playing since she was four. She has rapidly become support pianist of choice for many artists, from other young-generation players such as trumpeter Lwanda Gogwana to relative elder statesmen such as saxophonist Steve Dyer.
She co-founded the electronic outfit Deluge and composes prolifically. In her debut album The Offering, leader Ntuli showcases her arrangements of 11 of those compositions. Collaborators include guitarist Keenan Ahrends, saxophonists Xonti and Mthunzi Mvubu, trumpeter Marcus Wyatt, and vocalist Spha Mdlalose. Ntuli’s music has a very distinctive vision, with the root reference point being African traditional music swirling around richly textured repeating motifs.
Auriol Hays was born and raised all over the Western Cape everywhere from Mitchells Plain to Eerste River. She grew listening to classical and jazz music in a family of musicians. As a child, she was very quiet hiding beneath what would later be revealed as an extraordinarily talented shell.
A chance meeting with songwriter / producer extraordinaire, Andre Scheepers, brought their collaboration into fruition. Andre’s and Auriol’s differing writing styles and influences would seem conflicting but for some reason they work. Auriol is influenced by acts as varied as Radiohead and System of A Down, or Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. Auriol writes about darker emotions and admits that she never writes happy loves songs.
Nomfundo Xaluva is no ordinary musician. Her sultry voice and exquisite talent as a pianist is backed up by a masters degree in Jazz Studies and her humble, joyful attitude to both life and her art.
This talent and effortless demeanour as an artist is powerfully conveyed on her delightful album, Kusile. Xaluva’s CV reads like a list of achievements most artists would covet. She has performed with legends such as Sibongile Khumalo and she has graced the stage alongside international stars like Dianne Reeves. Her love for music has always been ingrained in her – even as a small child she showed an extreme aptitude for the piano and was always part of her school choir. After school, Xaluva knew there was only one road for her to follow – she was determined to study jazz.