Jazz label Blue Note Records and Universal Music Group Africa have launched Blue Note Africa.
The new imprint is dedicated to signing jazz artists from across the African continent, and taking them to a global audience.
The legendary jazz label suggested it could lead to 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 (pictured) new album In The Spirit Of Ntu.
Universal Music Group Africa signed Makhathini in 2018. A leader of the current South African Jazz scene, his second UMG album Modes of Communication: Letters From The Underworlds was released jointly on Blue Note Records.
African music has been a major creative tributary for nearly every album in Blue Note’s extensive catalogue
“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,” said 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 US, with a dedicated and passionate team led 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 catalogue,” said Blue Note president Don Was. “So it’s a great honour for us to partner with Sipho and his talented Universal Music Africa team in this new endeavour. Together, we will shine a global light on the incredible music emanating from Africa today.”