Mics And Beats: Edward Parseen & the Different Faces Band

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Next week the curtain raisers for Safaricom Jazz Lounge Mombasa Edition will be Kenyan act Edward Parseen & the Different Faces Band and AfroSync will be curtain raisers for the Nairobi Edition. Edward Parseen & the Different Faces Band was formed in 2008. They have scored other huge gigs since their inception such as International Jazz Day, James Ingram Live in Kenya and Daughters or Africa tour to just name a few. Edward Parseen tells us more about his music and the Different Faces Band.

BAND MEMBERS (L-R) ISAAC KIMETTO (BASS), EDWARD PARSEEN (SAX, TRUMPET, VOCALS) MOSES NJOROGE (KEYS, PRODUCTION), SHABAAN MUSYOKA (DRUMS). Image courtesy of Safaricom
BAND MEMBERS (L-R). ISAAC KIMETTO (BASS), EDWARD PARSEEN (SAX, TRUMPET, VOCALS), MOSES NJOROGE (KEYS, PRODUCTION), SHABAAN MUSYOKA (DRUMS). Image courtesy of Safaricom.

Different Faces consists of Saxophonist and Kenyatta University Music graduate Edward Parseen, Clasically trained Keyboardist Moses Njoroge, Shabaan Musyoka and Isaac Kimetto on the Bass. We play contemporary jazz with a tinge of AfroJazz, Trad Jazz and pop jazz.

The band plays every Tuesdays at Kiza Restaurant and Lounge, Ocean Basket at the oval on Wednesdays and Uptown Grill in Kilimani on Thursdays. The band has played in different concerts including Jazz Under the stars, Royal Carre the Netherlands, James Ingram Live in Kenya, Joe Thomas Live, International Jazz Day, Safaricom’s Night of Kenyan Jazz and many more. The album “Breaking Ground” is due for release Feb 2016.

How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

The Band has had different musicians since 2008 but the current band members have been together for 5 years. We all met during different shows in Nairobi.

When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

The Band was formed in 2008 with Zach Amunga and Stanley Kyalo who later went on and played with their own units.

Which instruments do you play?

Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet and Voice.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

I consider my Music Contemporary Jazz with Influences from Afro Jazz, Traditional or Jazz Standards, Classical Jazz and Pop jazz.

How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard you play before?

My music is focused on entertainment, it is rhythmic and with simple melodic lines like you would find in most African Songs. We focus on making our music palatable to the Kenyan listener.

All blues – Different Faces Band cover

What can people expect to see at your live performance?

An energy packed performance focused on entertainment and interaction with the audience. Good music.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

We write our own songs and build them over time as we play them. Topics are varied from Peace and Love to art and culture. It mostly depends on the influences when the song was written. For example the song “Painter” was inspired by a painting we saw when playing at a venue in 2012.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

The Biggest challenge for us and most bands in Kenya is consistency. We have been privileged to work together as a band for five years with little interruptions.

What advice do you have for people who want to form a band?

Go for it, it is possible and Music played and managed well, pays. Be consistent and keep practicing as a band. Be friends and maintain a good relationship amongst the band members. This will help in the making of the music.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

We take it as a learning curve. In Jazz you can turn a mistake to your favour and make good of it ending up in improving the performance.

What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

Nobody in the audience knows your nervous. Always smile and make eye contact with a few people in the audience. They will be your anchor of confidence through the performance.

How often and for how long do you practice?

We practice at least four to six hours as a band every week and play four (4) three (3) hour performances every week.

What do you think your biggest break or greatest opportunity has been so far in your musical career?

Sharing the stage with the greats including James Ingram, Joe Thomas and of course the current Safaricom Jazz Festival with my Icon Kirk Whalum and Gerald Albright who have influenced my music greatly.

What keeps you going as a band?

God and one another. We have had the opportunity to perform together for a long time and we enjoy doing it together.

Where would you like to see yourself within the next five years as a band? What are your long term career goals?

We would want to tour Africa and the world. Also play in Jazz festivals and Jazz clubs, collaborate with Jazz musicians and influence young upcoming musicians to make a living out of music.

If you were to perform with anybody/group in the world, either dead, alive who would it be? (You can name a couple of people)

BWB!! Brown, Whalum and Braun. Ove the years I’ve followed their collaboration and its nothing short of magical. Other groups would be Fourplay and Hugh Masekela!!

What are your up to date performance plans? New releases? Tours? News

The band has been invited to Selam Festival in Ethiopia in January 2016, the album launch in February and attending the Cape Town international jazz festival in April 2016.

Edward Parseen & the Different Faces Band will be curtain raising for the Safaricom Jazz Lounge Mombasa Edition on the 5th of December. To find out more about the Safaricom Jazz Lounge December Edition and how to get your tickets go to this link http://safaricomjazzfestival.co.ke/.

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