Current research

My academic research is strongly informed by my creative practice as a jazz composer and pianist. In particular, I am interested in how the musical experiences of jazz composers and performers (and to a lesser extent audience members) are mediated by their placements within larger social groupings defined by ‘race’ and place.

My current research explores the biographies and music of two prolific and highly original South African jazz composers, Lulama Gaulama and Paul Hanmer, each of whom were born around 1960. Their music and personal stories offer fascinating perspectives on apartheid and post-apartheid South African jazz culture and South African society more generally.

In my Masters/PhD research, I examined how the music of three post-apartheid South African jazz groups, including my own, sonically referenced its makers’ and listeners’ individual and wider social identities. Please click here to view my PhD dissertation.

Academic editing and peer review

I enjoy editing and between 2009 and 2012 I edited or co-edited four volumes of the journal South African Music Studies; in 2016 I guest-edited a special issue of the journal World of Music (new series) titled South African jazz culture: texts, contexts and subtexts. I am on the editorial board of Jazz Research Journal and have peer reviewed for numerous journals and academic presses.


As a postgraduate supervisor, I have drawn on the full range of my research and creative work. I have supervised jazz composition, performance, and research topics from jazz drumset pedagogy to musical analysis of Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus to jazz as a gendered discourse. I have also supervised Honours long essays on the music of Chopin and Madonna. One of my present PhD students considers the career trajectories of six prominent South African jazz women and how their experiences can be used to inform a more gender-inclusive and equitable jazz pedagogical practice. A Masters student is analyzing the ‘struggle songs’ of Miriam Makeba.