The 2016 edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival shall see its stage graced by New Orleans born jazz artist Branford Marsalis.
The 3 time Grammy award winning artist who is not only a saxophonist and a composer but is also the leader of the Branford Marsalis quartet, is set to give a once in a lifetime performance on the 21st of February 2016 alongside several other artists who are set to satisfy and entertain jazz music lovers. He has played with and alongside Kenny Kirkland, Matt Finders, The Tonight Show band, Anna Maria Jopek, Harry Connick Jr among others. He also performs frequently as a soloist and has led the group Buckshot LeFonque.
Some of the acts that are set to grace the stage alongside Marsalis with outstanding performances include:
Belgian jazz, classical music pianist and composer Jeff Neve, who has been composing music and playing in bands since the age of 14. He graduated in the year 2000 after studying jazz and classical music and has composed several acts including ‘Soul in a Picture’ in the year 2008 with Piet Verbist on the drums and Teun Verbruggen on the drums. Some of his world renowned songs include ‘It’s Gone’, ‘Soul in a Picture’ and ‘Suds & Soda’.
Italian duo consisting of Giampaolo Nuti who was born in Florence, where he studied piano with the late Antonio Bacchelli at the “L. Cherubini” Conservatory, graduating with honors in both piano and harpsichord; he has also taken courses in Electronic Music and Conducting and Francesco D’Orazio who is an Italian violinist and violist, who took up both instruments early in childhood. He has received his degree from the University of Bari and has performed in Europe, China, Japan, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina, with numerous orchestras.
Maya Beltsitzman and Matan Ephrat from Israel come together to bring a unique sound. With Maya on the vocals & the cello and Matan Ephrat on the drums, they both bring an artistic musical fusion that is not only soulful but vibrant at the same time.
Shabaka Hutchings from the UK is a saxophonist, band leader and composer, part of London’s community of younger jazz musicians as well as the city’s thriving improvised music scene. In 2010 Shabaka was granted the title of BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist which allowed him to undertake numerous commissions, as well as broadcast performances on radio. Earlier in 2015, Shabaka also received a commission from the London Sinfonietta to write a ‘note to the new government’ and was Associate Artist for the Spittalfields Summer Festival.
Siya Makuzeni from South Africa is no stranger to the jazz fraternity. Makuzeni started her music career when she was only 13 years old who recently won the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist award for Jazz.
Joining them on stage as well are two Kenyan bands – AfroSync Band and Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band.
The AfroSync band specializes its music along the straddles of traditional and contemporary jazz styles and has performed alongside Grammy winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown, as well as multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright and rising star Sheléa at the Safaricom Jazz Lounge in Nairobi and Mombasa in December.
The Kenyan act Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band that has performed in events such as the James Ingram live in Kenya and also performed alongside one of their icons Kirk Whalum at the Safaricom Jazz Festival last year. The band consists of Saxophonist Edward Parseen, Isaac Kimetto on the bass, Moses Njoroge on the keys and Shabaan Musyoka on the drums. The band has been together for five years now and is also set to give an incredible, rhythmic and entertaining performance that will only leave you begging for more.
So why should jazz lovers mark the 21st of February as a must attend event?
1. Get to be part of the amazing atmosphere that jazz music creates: Jazz music is one of the most refreshing and soulful genres of music of all time. It is a collective of music that depicts beauty with an incredible history. There is no other music that encompasses the range of musical influences that jazz does.
2. Appreciate the art behind the jazz: Playing jazz requires a ton of dedication, practice and commitment and the Safaricom Jazz Festival gives you an opportunity of a lifetime to get to experience an array of remarkable talents that have spent most of their lives perfecting this art all sharing the same stage.
3. Supporting local as well as international talent: We should strive more to bring up the talent that we have in our country. With more people showing up for such events, the greater the platforms and opportunities created for more local talent to come up and perform at these events.
4. Take a break from the norm: The lineup of artists set to perform at the event bring out a taste in music that is mature, fresh and invigorating to say the least. Jazz music is that kind of music that you feel deep in your soul, it stirs up emotion inside you and it soothes your mind and body as well. I’m positive that by the end of the event you’ll question yourself as to why you haven’t been listening to jazz all this time and you’ll definitely change your entire playlist in the process.
5. Be part of the movement: The Safaricom International Jazz Festival is a big deal when it comes to jazz circles and the jazz scene in Kenya as well because it’s the first of its kind and for sure the largest jazz festival Kenya has ever seen. For a long time now Kenya has been at the epicenter of radical changes in art, music and culture as well. Why not be part of the movement that is shaking the jazz scene in Africa and the world at large?
Safaricom C.E.O Bob Collymore said, “Our goal, since we launched in February 2014 has been to make Nairobi an internationally recognized hub of Jazz music and I believe the wide array of performers that have graced Safaricom Jazz concerts so far has shown that we are indeed committed to giving Kenyans world-class concerts right here at home.”
Tickets are already on sale via M-TICKETING as well as at Safaricom shops and the Michael Joseph Centre, and will retail at Kshs.1000 advance and Kshs.300 for students. Children under 12 years will get in free of charge accompanied by a paying adult.