Reza Khota was born in Johannesburg and was introduced to the guitar by his father in the 80’s. He began his formal training with Jeremy Karodia at the age of ten, studying rock and classical guitar as well as chord theory. He later studied classical guitar and improvisation with Faizel Boorany, who fired his enthusiasm for experimental jazz, the classical avant-garde and progressive guitar music. After enrolling for his B.mus degree at Wits University, he furthered his classical guitar studies under David Hewitt. During this time Reza received master-classes from Norwegian guitarist Vegard Lund and the Austrian crossover guitarist/composer Helmut Jasbar. He has been a recipient of several important awards, including numerous Samro bursaries and merit awards. In 1998 Reza was awarded first prize in the National Classical Guitar Competition adjudicated amongst others by the renown Czech guitarist/composer Stepan Rak. He also received master-classes from the maestro during his visit to South Africa. Reza now holds a Masters degree with distinction from Wits University.
Reza has matured into a guitarist with a distinct voice and performs with a musicality and technical facility that recalls the rich history of the instrument. He is equally comfortable performing composed and improvised music. The guitarist performs regularly at festivals such as the Joy of Jazz Festival and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. He was the composer and guitarist for the crossover band Babu, which was regarded by many as one of the most cutting edge Jazz/World music ensembles in South Africa at the time. In 2008, Babu released their debut album Up Roots (nominated by the Mail and Guardian as one of the top 20 SA albums of the decade). The band has since been nominated for two Sama awards and conducted a successful tour of South Africa funded by Mmino. In 2009 Babu also conducted a successful tour of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and a year later in Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Reza has also collaborated with people in the world of fine arts, most notably in performance pieces by William Kentridge and Nicholas Hlobo. He currently plays with the cream of young SA Jazz musicians in bands such as: Kesivan and the Lights who played to a standing ovation at New Yorks prestigious Carnegie Hall in October 2014 as well as the Shane Cooper Quintet who’s album “Oscillations” received widespread praise from local and international press. In addition to being a sideman in these bands Reza has his own quartet featuring Jonno Sweetman, Shane Cooper and Buddy Wells who released there debut album: Transmutation in early 2014. Reza was an artist in residence in Bern, Switzerland from Oct – Dec 2013, and is currently an artist in residence at UWC’s Center for Humanities Research. He recently composed music based on Derek Grippers Kora transcriptions for classical guitar maestro John Williams.