Malcolm Jiyane Tree-O
The debut album from South African trombonist and pianist Malcolm Jiyane Tree-O.
A generous sideman and bandleader, multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Jiyane stands at the vanguard of his prodigious generation of jazz musicians. Operating from the centre and the fringes of the South African jazz scene, the trombonist (and pianist) is an enigmatic yet charismatic galvaniser 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, 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. [info sheet from distr.]