Shakespeare Suite

Piano Passions Project

eThekwini Dance Suite

Chris Thorpe Masters Recital

eThekwini Dance Suite (video)

One for Vee Suite

Mortal Love Suite

A Thought (feat. Stan Sulzmann)

1994 session with Concord Nkabinde and Bhisham Bridglall

Mosaic - Child’s Play

Composer’s statement

In my compositional practice I seek to integrate aspects of the musical traditions that most excite me. From Indian classical music I draw on the concept of rasa (mood/colour), and every piece I write delves deeply into (and attempts to sustain) a particular emotion or feeling or mood. I use a variety of melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and formal techniques to achieve this. I am also deeply interested in the Indian rhythmic concept of tala, and this finds expression in my preference for odd metres (e.g. 5/4, 7/4, 21/8) and in my approach to phrasing, both compositionally and in my improvisation style.

Harmonically, many of my compositions reference the short, repeated harmonic cycles that characterise South African jazz styles like marabi and kwela. Melodic phrases and grooves consciously bear a distinctly South African jazz ‘accent’.

I also draw on functional and coloristic harmony characteristic of traditional and modern North American jazz. I enjoy the extended, linear forms that characterize Western art music, though I have found they can be incompatible with the shorter, cyclical forms that characterize jazz.

Collating pieces into suites draws on my deep interest in Baroque music that comes from my early training on the recorder (under apartheid, this was the only instrument that was taught at ‘Indian’ schools; other instruments had to be studied privately). Jazz suites – like their 17th century Baroque counterparts – allow for a combination of small-scale cyclical forms (in individual movements) with larger-scale linear musical development (over the course of the whole suite).

Like most jazz musicians, I see my pieces as referencing particular people, places, or life events. These are the main aesthetic and social dynamics that animate my compositional and improvisational practice.