Zimbabwe Nkenya recently returned to the St. Louis area from the Southwest, where he became known as one of New Mexico's foremost creative musicians. His ensembles Black Jazz Culture, ZIYA, Contrabass Quartet and African Space Project were regularly featured in venues throughout the state including the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe and the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque.
Zimbabwe's current work with the re-emerging St. Louis-based BAG collective is inspired and influenced by the work of the original BAG musicians. Lester Bowie, Philip Wilson, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Baikida Carroll, J D Parran, BoBo Shaw, Ajule Sonny Rutlin, Arzinia Richardson, Floyd LeFlore, Luther Thomas, Bluiett, and many others are all influences on the music, as well as the A.A.C.M. musicians working out of Chicago.
Zimbabwe's ensembles African Space Project, ZIYA, Black Jazz Culture and Contrabass Quartet have all reflected his wide range of composing and performing interest, exploring the different possibilities of many idioms in creative music-jazz, African, hip-hop, avant garde, reggae-through experimentation in instrumentation and improvisation.
Zimbabwe has performed with some of the finest internationally known musicians on the creative music scene including Ajule Sonny Rutlin, Warren Smith, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Jerome 'Scrooge' Harris, Julius Hemphill, Rob Brown, Douglas Ewart, Abdul Wadud, William Parker, Fred Ho's Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake, Daniel Carter, Frank Morgan, Eddie Gale, J A Deane, Floyd LeFlore, Chris Jonas, Mary Redhouse, Bill Cole's Yoruba Proverbs, Jim Marshall and Maurice 'Malik' King. He has played with African singers, dancers & musicians Thuli Dumakude, Linda Tshabalala, Chipo Wakatanda, Duma Ndlovu, Lorraine Mahlangu, Abraham Adzenya, Welcome Msomi, Mohamed Kamara, Nhlanhla Brian Thusi and many others. Zimbabwe has also collaborated with poets Quincy Troupe, Eugene B. Redmond, Linda Piper, Mike'360' Ipiotes, Joy Harjo, Virginia Hampton, Michael Castro, Shirley LeFlore and Arthur Ray Brown.
Zimbabwe has performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, Knitting Factory, NYU, Hunter College, PS 122, and Riverside Church as well as The BRIDE in Philadelphia and One World Festival, Detroit. In New York he was featured in the two-year run of Izulu Dance Theater's Off-Broadway musical production HALALA, at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater.
In addition to his active playing career, Zimbabwe has also been an educator, playing concerts,workshops and residencies for school children. For some 20 years, he hosted one of New Mexico's most respected radio shows, KUNM's Sunday night special, "The House that Jazz Built."
Zimbabwe performs at The Velvet Lounge on October 25.