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Blue Note Records and Universal Launch Blue Note Africa

New imprint launches this spring with release of Nduduzo Makhathini’s album In the Spirit of Ntu

Nduduzo Makhathini
Nduduzo Makhathini (photo: Ezra Makgope)

Blue Note Records and Universal Music Group Africa have announced the creation of Blue Note Africa, a new label that will focus on African jazz artists. The first release from the new imprint is Nduduzo Makhathini’s album In the Spirit of Ntu, which comes out May 27, with the single “Senze’Nina” being released later this week on April 8.

“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, in a press release received at JazzTimes. “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 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 catalog,” Blue Note President Don Was said in the same press release. “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.”