The legendary jazz label Blue Note Records and Universal Music Group Africa have announced the creation of Blue Note Africa, an exciting new imprint dedicated to signing jazz artists from across the African continent, bringing them to a global audience, and promoting 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 luminous new album In The Spirit Of Ntu.
“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,” says 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 U.S., with a dedicated and passionate team lead 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 catalog,” says Blue Note President Don Was. “So it’s a great honor for us to partner with Sipho and his talented Universal Music Africa team in this new endeavor. Together, we will shine a global light on the incredible music emanating from Africa today.”
Blue Note also has a number of exciting releases coming up and recently released gems. Gerald Clayton released his gorgeous new album with the label, Bells On Sand, on April 1. Trombone Shorty has been offering previews of his highly anticipated new studio album, Lifted, out April 29 via the famed label. Vibraphonist and composer Joel Ross is also set to return with stunning conviction on The Parable of the Poet, an expansive album-length suite composed by Ross which marks his 3rd release for Blue Note following his 2019 debut KingMaker and 2020’s Who Are You?.