My good friend and long time collaborator, bassist, mbira player and composer Zimbabwe Nkenya, suffered a stroke Wednesday, November 4, and is in the hospital in St. Louis. No word yet on his condition. My prayers and positive healing energies go out to him and his wife and family.
For the past nearly 20 years in Northern New Mexico, on and off, I've had the privilege of playing drums and piano in various ensembles under his direction and he has graciously agreed to play bass in some of my projects as well. He moved to Tucson, Arizona a few years ago and then to St. Louis, his hometown, where he was central in resurrecting the Black Artist Group there, calling it BAGII.
In New Mexico, his projects included Black Jazz Culture, The African Space Program and a variety of ensembles dedicated to honoring the compositions of Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, Duke, Miles, Wayne Shorter and more. He has always been a generous supporter of my musical endeavors. He's especially been supportive of my piano playing, for which I'm deeply appreciative.
Zimbabwe Nkenya and the New Jazz, is available through High Mayhem in Santa Fe. It's an interesting tour through some of Zimbabwe's more jazz-influenced compositions.
The huge, warm tone of his bass playing has always been healing for me, whether I have had the honor of being in the band or the audience. Again, Zim, prayers for your peace and healing.