Music producer and businessman Thami Mdluli says his latest jazz album release is his best work thus far.
The 10 track album Ticzo Jazz was scheduled for release in 2020 but the Covid-19 pandemic hit, forcing the muso to sit with his project.
But it was within that period that he found more time to perfect his craft and thus re-recording new music that he feels is the true essence of what jazz music is.
“It was during this time that I wrote songs that I never thought I would write.
“I would sit alone, play my instruments, it was there that I would explore interesting elements that have given birth to the sounds and melodies that I have never explored before.
“I had time to focus on music, pour myself back into music.
“I have hit platinum and multi-platinum in my career. I have sold millions of records but I have never felt like this before,” he said.
“I feel like the past 40 years of being a recording artist and producer have all come to this particular album, where I share my frustrations, hurt, love, and hope.
“It shares a heartfelt story of my pure sadness and hurt from seeing families being torn apart to the pandemic we find ourselves in.
“And these songs were born in different ways, like Cape Flats - that song came along after watching the news on the shooting which shook the nation.
“Music Connection shares a story of hope as I envision us all dancing and being united as a nation again. It is just a beautiful storybook told through jazz,” he said.
“The word Ticzo is derived from the word Thami, a nickname that his uncles fondly call him by, and while creating the album I dedicated it to people who appreciate the jazz genre,” he says.
“Speaking of the sound, the album covers a great variety of feels that touch different parts of our beautiful continent. Cape Flats has that Cape Flats that Abdullah Ibrahim feels to it while songs like Love Affair are so international.”
He released two singles from the album titled Jazz It Up and Where There’s Love before the Covid-19 lockdown hit and that fate changed the trajectory of the entire album.
Mdluli started learning how to play music at the age of 14 and became a professional at 16. When he was 18, he was playing on big stages and in 1990, he just did not want to play or create music anymore.
“I didn’t want anything to do with music and I concentrated on the production side of things, business, and the art in-studio – playing for other artists, etc.
It was only five years back that the love for making music bit him again.
The love for the stage returned and with it birthed four studio albums.
“When I started in music, I started with jazz because it what was popular, then genres like marabi and American jazz, Alexandra jazz – and those were the sounds that raised me.
“But as I was growing up, I realised that there is no money in jazz.
“So I had to change to other genres like pop as we were playing in a lot of nightclubs and festivals.
“But because jazz has always been there, from my upbringing, it kicked back in. And also with age, it just made sense.
“Not forgetting how jazz is such a big part of South Africa’s musical heritage.
“Jazz is African, even when you look overseas it is black people that dominate this genre.
“It is heavily influenced by African sounds, our groove, and our way of interpreting music.
“It is just so beautiful.
“I can boldly say that South Africa is among the pioneers of the jazz sound.
“We have giants that have revolutionised music through jazz and used it for different purposes that have given jazz its importance.
“It’s such a beautiful marriage.
“It is albums like Ticzo Jazz and the many other released by local stars that continue to cement our place in the global music scene, bearing evidence that we are among the pioneers of the jazz genre. And we need to be proud of that,” he said.