Recommended: Thandi Ntuli, something old, something new


Pianist-vocalist Thandi Ntuli just released two singles from her upcoming release Exiled.

Back in 2014, during my Wondering Sound days, I included Ntuli’s The Offering as one of my weekly recommendations.  I found it plenty enjoyable back then, and I find it plenty enjoyable now.  Ntuli strikes a deft balance with her mix of South African and contemporary jazz.  There’s a sense of contemplation even when the music grows increasingly dynamic, and there’s a delicateness to the melodies even when they display some edge.  Ntuli’s voice rings sharp and clear.  There’s a directness to her delivery that is exceedingly refreshing.  And her piano contributions aren’t there just to bolster her vocals.  The absence of vocals on a particular track does not, in fact, leave an absence.  Most of the album is comprised of instrumental tracks, and if there were a concern that this would create a vacuum, Ntuli’s piano work fills it each time.  And then there’s Ntuli’s septet, which generates all kinds of warmth and energy with an approach that accentuates subtlety and restraint over fussiness and fireworks.  There’s plenty here to like, and plenty different reasons to like it.

Your album personnel:  Thandi Ntuli (piano, vocals), Sphelelo Mazibuko (drums), Benjamin Jephta (double bass), Keenan Ahrends (guitar), Marcus Wyatt (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mthunzi Mvubu (alto sax), Sisonke Xonti (tenor sax) and guest:  Spha Mdlalose (vocals).

And now there’s the matter of Ntuli’s upcoming album and the first preview of it.

The two-part “Cosmic Light” accentuates the qualities that made The Offering as successful as it was.  But this new view also hints at some evolution since Ntuli’s previous recording.  We’ll pretty much just have to wait until the entire album comes out.

But for now, here’s something new from Ntuli.

The Offering is Self-Produced.

Listen to more of Ntuli’s music at her Bandcamp page.

Music from the Johannesburg, South Africa scene.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic