Nicola Conte Umoja All Star Band and DJ Session Tour

International Jazz Day South Africa in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute presents: Nicola Conte Umoja Southern Africa Tour

Band members: Nicola Conte (Guitar), Bokani Dyer (Piano), Sisonke Xhonti (saxophone), Siya Makhuzeni (Female) (Vocals and trombone), Gontse Makhene (percussion), Ameen Saleem Bass), Teppo Makynen (drums)

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The Italian Cultural Institute in Pretoria, in proud collaboration with the Italian Embassy in South Africa, The Consulate General of Italy in Johannesburg, the Consulate of Italy in Cape Town, the Honorary Consulate of Italy in Antananarivo and International Jazz Day SA, is thrilled to present Nicola Conte Umoja Southern Africa Tour.

Nicola Conte

This April, experience the unique blend of jazz, infused with sounds from the ’60s, spiritual jazz, and rhythms from Latin America to Africa, in a series of performances that span Madagascar and South Africa. In Madagascar, Conte will captivate audiences with his solo DJ set, showcasing his unparalleled skills.

The tour will then move to South Africa, where Conte, along with celebrated musicians, will delve into intimate couch sessions and live band performances, marking his first live band shows in the region.

Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the founding father of Italian acid jazz, whose talent has resonated in the most prestigious clubs worldwide and has earned him acclaim in South Africa.

Nicola Conte


Nicola Conte has established himself as one of the finest and most eclectic musicians, producers, and composers in the Italian and international jazz scene, his signature sound and global approach to music making, coupled with his intergenerational style has made him one of the most in demand musicians of our generation. 

As a classically trained guitarist, bandleader, crate-digger, and DJ, Conte’s journey into music originating from beyond Europe defines his brand of cosmic jazz and rare grooves. A prolific producer, Conte’s musical oeuvre echoes a spectrum of influences deriving from bossa nova, film soundtracks of the 60’s, spiritual jazz, Latin America, and African music. His releases have found home on Schema Records, Blue Note, ThieveryCorporation’s Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL), EmArcy/Universal Jazz, MPS, Impulse!, and Far Out Recordings. 

Nicola Conte makes his much anticipated return to South Africa which is slowly becoming his spiritual home, with a series of special DJ sets as a solo and live bands powered by the Italian Cultural institute and International Jazz Day South Africa. 

The band will perform with the following artists: 

Nicola Conte (Guitar), 

Bokani Dyer (Keys),  

Sisonke Xhonti (Saxophone), 

Siya Makhuzeni (Vocals and trombone),  

Gontse Makhene (Percussion),  

Ameen Saleem (Bass),

Teppo Makynen (Drums)

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La Canopée Restaurant

6 April – 19:00

Cape Town

Gorgeous George Hotel

10 April – 18:00


Cape Town


11 April – 18:00


Constitution Hill

14 April – 13:00


Le’Ashma Lounge

13 April – 14:00

More videos with Nicola Conte

Nicola Conte




To comprehend fully Nicola Conte’s music originality and sensibility we should refer, together with his productions, to the activity of Fez, a cultural movement founded by Conte himself in Bari in the early 1990s. A real melting pot of several creative musicians, who most importantly are friends and grew up together with the same intellectual, musical, and political interests. Cultural trouble-makers, emotional dreamers, jazz enthusiasts of the 1950s and 1960s, deep “nouvelle vague” connoisseurs, compulsive vinyl collectors, design and graphic experts, people crazy for the cultural beat and books written by revolutionaries like Jean Paul Sartre and Boris Vian.

The atmosphere at Fez seemed to be the same at Tabou, the legendary “caveau” in Saint- Germain-des-Prés, described by Vian himself. It was a place where to listen to records, watch cult movies of those decades (1950s and 1960s), and look for solutions to intellectual unrest. Today, some years later, one of the strongest expressions highlighted at Fez is still that of music.

In that period Fez became the reference point for the artists involved in the acid jazz scene, really fashionable in London; Nicola Conte is considered the irreplaceable link with our country: he brings artists already famous abroad but still unknown in Italian clubs. Sociologically in the past we would have defined Fez a perfect example of cultural decentralization “ante litteram,” far from the neuralgic center of the country. Through Nicola Conte’s efforts Fez started to be recognized as a cultural movement in its own right. Then he decided to direct his ideas towards the music productions: he began collaborating as a remixer at Schema Records and he created bands like the Paolo Achenza Trio, QuintettoX, Fez Combo, Intensive Jazz Sextet, and Balanço. Their works well underline Nicola’s love for global jazz and reveals his other great passions to us, like soundtracks—especially the old Italian productions by Piero Piccioni and Ennio Morricone—and the Brazilian genre Bossa Nova. The three different styles strongly connected—jazz, soundtracks, and Bossa Nova—are well expressed in the productions of the 1990s and strictly bound to the Afro roots. The year 2000 is the turn of “Other Directions,” released by Blue Note. This record represents Nicola Conte’s music aesthetic, from every perspective. Always poised between jazz and Bossa Nova, here we find the compositive soul bound to refined acoustic atmospheres.

“Other Directions” sold more than 60.000 copies worldwide and became a milestone because of the collaboration and musical affinities of some Italian and international artists From the London Jazz Cafè to the Milan Blue Note and the Tokyo Billboard, from the Swiss Montreaux Jazz Festival to the German Jazz Open Stuttgart, the sound of “Other Directions” has been largely acknowledged and nowadays is still a smash hit, which demonstrates the unique feeling of his music and of the Jazz Combo band, and above all it reproduces in the live performances the freshness of the sound created during the several studio recording phases.


2008 is the year of “Rituals,” which confirms the multifaceted talent and maturity of this artist and instrumentalist from Bari. Recorded between late 2005 and October 2007, this work as well develops above all around a now legendary group that follows the artist. We find Pietro Lussu, Pietro Ciancaglini, Fabrizio Bosso, Lorenzo Tucci, and Daniele Scannapieco, with whom Nicola Conte has elaborated many tracks present on the album, alongside his other friends Gianluca Petrella, Gaetano Partipilo, and Till Brönner, also present in “Other Directions to be followed by the strong Love and Revolution on the famous Sixties Jazz Label Impulse where Nicola took a reflection in music on the values of our society: values to recuperate, values that have continued to be a beacon for many generations, values sung by youths in the late 1960s. And it is precisely this cultural atmosphere that Conte refers to, both in his choice of repertoire and in the splendid arrangements by Magnum Lindgren, and (perhaps above all) in the lyrics, all written by Conte himself (with the exception of two). Love & Revolution makes use of the talents of singers José James, Nailah Porter, Melanie Charles, Gregory Porter (U.S.A.), Veronica Harcsa (Hungary), Alice Ricciardi (Italy), and Bridgette Amofah (U.K.); trumpet players Till Brönner (Germany), Nicolas Folmer (France), Fabrizio Bosso and Flavio Boltro (Italy); trombonist Peter Fredriksson (Sweden), sax player and flautist Magnum Lindgren (as well as arranger, Sweden), Gaetano Partipilo (Italy), Timo Lassy (Finland), Logan Richardson and Tim Warfield (U.S.A.); pianist Pietro Lussu, bassist Paolo Benedettini (Italy); drummer Teppo Makynen (Finland); vibes player Michael Pinto (U.S.A.); drummer Pierpaolo Bisogno, and the programming of Andrea Santoro (Italy), as well as the leader’s contribution at the guitar.

In the beginning of May 2014 his album Free Souls was released in Europe on Schema Records and on Universal Records in Japan. It is a collection of some of his unreleased tracks from last years… you can’t believe what he found in his basket! Lovely tracks from his recordings with Jose James, Till Broenner, Magnus Lindgren and others! Free Souls is a pure soul album which is based on the early 60s change of direction in musical research, especially in Jazz: a turn into deepness.

In September 2017 his new collaboration with Gianluca Petrella, the famous Italian trombonist, came out with their 2 EPs on Schema Records Italy called: Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella – African Spirits / New World Shuffle followed 2018 by Sun Song / Nigeria, connecting Detroit Nu- Disco and Afro Spiritual Funk.

For his 2018 album Nicola Conte & Spiritual Galaxy ‘Let Your Light Shine On’ released on MPS Records Conte has casually interwoven soul and grooves pulsing with the beat and breath of Africa. In doing so, Conte combined elements that seemingly do not belong together. Nicola Conte has cast his vision of cosmic jazz into a seamless tonal design – without restricting his players` freedom, leaving them open to the influences of diverse cultures. “Everyone should be able to express themselves freely,” Conte says; “this album is much more open than my last one. Everything was recorded live and with a minimum of overdubs.”

His release in 2021 continued the collaboration with Gianluca Petrella and led to the wonderful album People need People. This innovative jazz evivalist has always been open to sounds of every sort and color.



  • Nicola Conte Umoja Far Out Recordings 2023
  • Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella People need People Schema 2021
  • Nicola Conte Let Your Light Shine On MPS 2018
  • Nicola Conte Free Souls Schema 2014
  • Nicola Conte Love & Revolution Impulse! 2011
  • Nicola Conte Rituals Schema 2008
  • Nicola Conte Other Directions Blue Note 2004
  • Nicola Conte Jet Sounds Revisited Schema 2002
  • Nicola Conte Bossa Per Due Eighteenth Street Lounge Music 2001
  • Nicola Conte Jet Sounds Schema 2000


  • Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella Sun Song / Nigeria Schema 2018
  • Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella African Spirits / New World Shuffle Schema 2017
  • Nicola Conte Free Souls Schema 2014
  • Nicola Conte Feat. Heidi Vogel & Bridgette Amofah Sandalia Dela /Baltimore Oriole Schema 2014
  • Nicola Conte Do You Feel Like I Feel Impulse! 2011
  • Nicola Conte Like Leaves In The Wind Schema 2008
  • Nicola Conte Kind Of Sunshine/Impulso Schema 2004
  • Nicola Conte / Cinematic Orchestra Wanin Moon/Wheel Within A Wheel Talkin Loud 10″ 2004
  • Nicola Conte Bossa Per Due Schema 1999
  • Nicola Conte / Gerardo Frisina Nefertiti / Gica’s Dance Schema 2003
  • Thievery Corporation vs. Nicola
  • Nicola Conte Bossa Per Due Remix ESL 2001
  • Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella New Standards Schema 2001
  • Nicola Conte La Coda Del Diavolo / Missione A Bombay Schema 2001
  • Nicola Conte Forma 2000 Schema 2000
  • Nicola Conte Bossa Per Due / The In Samba Schema 2000
  • Nicola Conte Jet Sounds Schema 1999
  • Nicola Conte Arabesque / Fuoco Fatuo 7″ Schema 1999
  • Nicola Conte Bossa Per Due Schema 1999


  • Various Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 5 Far Out Recordings 2013
  • Various Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 4 Far Out Recordings 2012
  • Various Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 3 Far OutRecordings 2011
  • Various Nicola Conte Presents Spiritual Swingers Universal Jazz (Germany) 2010
  • Various Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 2 Far Out Recordings 2009 Nicola
  • Conte The Modern Sound Of Nicola Conte: Versions In Jazz Dub Schema 2009
  • Various Nicola Conte Presents Viagem Far Out Recordings 2008