Jimmy Dludlu

Jazz and Solo Musician - Cape Town
Jimmy Dludlu


During a period where Jimmy was recording with Miriam Makeba on the album "Eyes on Tomorrow", he participated in the Sun City production Sax Appeal, appearing besides artists namely Rene McLean, Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen, Victor Ntoni and the late Duke Makasi. A founder member of the highly successful group Loading Zone, he was in 1991 backing a range of South African stars including Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie, Chicco and Sipho Mabuse which went on to tour across the continent. A highlight of this period was Loading Zone's Namibian tour in 1992, when they were spotted by Zairean world-music star Papa Wemba, who subsequently asked the band to back him on several dates in Namibia.

He first picked up a cousin's home made guitar and started teaching himself to play by imitating the jazz and African music he heard on the radio at the age of 13. His first performances were at township weddings and functions with his cousin.

Having worked with various southern African bands, his career took off in earnest in the mid-1980's, when he included 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 performance with Anansi at the Botswana Independence celebrations in 1986, alongside a range of African stars including Thomas Mapfumo.

In Johannesburg in 1990, Jimmy worked as a session musician. He worked with McCoy Mrubata and his band Brotherhood, which a year later won the Gilbey's Music of Africa Competition. In September 1990, he also took part in the Market Theatre production Conversations with Canadian Bruce Cassidy on Trumpet and EVI, and South African Barney Rachabane on sax.

Jimmy was now hanging out with the likes of Robbie Jansen, Winston Mankunku and Victor Ntoni; his career was well on track. A year later Loading Zone was touring Namibia. Coincidentally, the Zairian Papa Wemba was also on tour and he invited the band to back him at several performances. The following year he was at the Smirnoff Jazz Festival in Grahamstown with the band Ojoyo and again in 1994 with Herb Ellis (formerly with Oscar Petersen).

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