Home » Jazz Articles » Linda Sikhakhane: An Open Dialogue

10
Album Review

Linda Sikhakhane: An Open Dialogue

By

Sign in to view read count
Linda Sikhakhane: An Open Dialogue
When tenor saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane released Two Sides, One Mirror (Skay Music, 2017), it was a statement of arrival, marking his ascendancy within the jazz ranks in his native South Africa, and departure, signaling a move to the United States that would result in studies with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeter Charles Tolliver, bassist Reggie Workman and a host of other greats at The New School. This eagerly awaited follow-up, recorded as part of his senior recital at that venerable institution, closes out a chapter surrounding this artist's development while opening a dialogue on sound, culture and the inner truths surrounding "what it means to create work on either side of the Black Atlantic."

Largely rejecting a hemispheric bifurcation while recognizing how history has served as both binder and divider in that contextual realm, Sikhakhane draws on the sonic wisdom of chief influences John Coltrane and Winston Mankunku Ngozi while also speaking to currents represented in artists like pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, his employer and this album's producer. On "Codes of Light," for example, intensity and openness both work together toward the realization of those ideals. Ancestral spirits, shades of blue(s), titular vocalizations, stirring sentiments and a thrilling take on tension and release all play a part as the band roams over a landscape set in seven. The brief "Umkhokheli," with its free floating ruminations, speaks to movement through space. And "Amakhosi," held in place by bassist Zwelakhe Duma Bell Le Pere's simple ballasting, moves at a glacial pace, plays to a dream state, and offers notable solos from the leader, trumpeter Lesedi Ntsane, and flautist Redi Fernandez.

As the album progresses, Sikhakhane proves both flexible and focused on what he has to say. The soloing on "Timelessness" flies over drummer Alon Benjamini's driving swing while the song's explicit message moves beyond style and time. The quickly-passing "Tlhatlha Matjolo (Amenless Prayer)" points toward a ritual and incantation with patient purpose. "Ziyokhala Ziyotheza Sokela" is all about a slow-flow spirituality centered on supple movements. And closer "Saziwa Nguwe," opening with Sikhakhane's direct melodic intentions over exploratory underpinnings, offers a heady brew with chants from the depths, a propulsive rhythm section and some barbed soloing from Ntsane and the leader.

Sikhakhane and his colleagues highlight the very meaning of convergence while journeying through these seven tracks. Everything from Basotho prayer to bop influences, crystalline purity to shadowy descents, percussive strength to melodic fragility, and purely South African suggestions to global references make appearances in some way, shape or form. The music is at once an acknowledgement of a bidirectional flow between Africa and America and a statement of firm purpose and understanding from an artist with an upward trajectory.

Track Listing

Codes of Light; Umkhokheli; Amakhosi; Timelessness; Tlhatlha Matjolo (Amenless Prayer); Ziyokhala Ziyotheza Sokela; Saziwa Nguwe.

Personnel

Linda Sikhakhane: saxophone, tenor; Redi Fernandez: flute; Lesedi Ntsane: trumpet; Lex Korten: piano; Zwelakhe Duma Bell Le Pere: bass; Alon Benjamini: drums; Jude Van der Wat: harp; Sakhile Moleshe: voice / vocals; Nduduzo Makhathini: keyboards; Gontse Makhene: percussion.

Additional Instrumentation

Mabeleng Moholo: percussion, vocals.

Album information

Title: An Open Dialogue | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Skay Music


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Twelve
Noam Lemish
Quietude
Eliane Elias
One More Please
Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell
Thoughts & Images
Alex Tremblay

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.