JIMMY DLUDLU was born in Mozambique. When he was 13 years old he first picked up a cousin’s home made guitar and started teaching himself to play by imitating the jazz and Mozambican music he heard on the radio. His first performances were at township weddings and functions with his cousin.
His career took off in earnest in the mid- 1980’s, when he worked with various southern African bands including Impandze from Swaziland, featuring Jamaican singer Trevor Hall, Kalahari and Satari from Botswana, as well as Anansi, featuring the Ghanaian saxophonist George Lee. A highlight of this period was his performance with Anansi at the Botswana Independence celebrations in 1986, alongside a range of African stars including Thomas Mapfumo. In October 1995, Jimmy and his own band C-Base Collective shared the stage with Senegalese singer and guitarist Ismaėl Lo’s African Reconnection Tour in Cape Town. With C-Base Collective, Jimmy performed 2 highly acclaimed shows alongside Courtney Pine at the 1996 Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, and found himself a PolyGram recording artist by the end of the year.
His debut album for PolyGram, Echoes from the Past, was released in September 1997 to a wealth of superlatives from the media. The album was also well received by the industry, as Jimmy received 2 FNB SAMA Awards for “Best Newcomer” and “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” in 1998, and by the general public, as sales figures in January 1999 indicated sales in excess of 25 000 copies. The album has since been released in nine territories on the Verve label, including United States, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and Hungary.
In March 2000, Jimmy was further acknowledged by the South African music industry, winning the “Best Male Artist” category, and with “Essence of Rhythm” taking the “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” prize at the SAMA Music Awards.
Jimmy Dludlu’s style includes wide-ranging influences, combining both traditional and modern elements of jazz drawn from among others Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Pat Metheny, to South African legends Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, Hugh Masekela, Themba Mokwena, and Allen Kwela. He is particularly drawn to the sounds of west and central Africa, as well as Latin America, but says jazz remains his first love. His numerous original compositions fall within the tradition of what has been loosely termed Afro-Jazz.
He perfected his craft at the University of Cape Town where he studied jazz. He has released 8 albums namely: Echoes from the Past (1997), Essence of Rhythm (1999), Afrocentric (2002), Corners of my Soul (2006), Portrait (2007), Tonota (2011), Jimmy Dludlu Live (2015), In the Groove (2016).
In his discography count with participation of various international musicians like Bebe Winans winner of 6 Grammy Awards; Angelique Kidjo who this year won for the second time the Grammy Awards in the category World Music Album; Salif Keita, Hugh Masekela; Judith Sephuma among others.
It has already been figure of poster in several editions of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, one of the four best in the world, was also in Lugano Jazz Festival in Switzerland, was in Calabar Jazz Festival in Nigéria, SAFARICOM Jazz Festival in Kenya, and various concerts around the world.