African Legends Jazz it up

Jimmy Dludlu on stage with Kavutha Asiyo at the Safaricom Jazz festival. PHOTO | BILL ODIDI

What you need to know:

  • With Maasai blankets laid out, picnic baskets at arm’s length; Kenyans from all walks of life welcomed an eclectic mix of artistes with varying international acclaim.
  • South African guitarist Jimmy Dludlu had so much fun the last time around that he came back just to play with our local bands.

The benchmark was definitely raised as African legends graced this year’s Safaricom Jazz Festival.

Barely in its second year, the festival is already attracting world class headliners and a crowd of 11,000.

It turns out Kenyans actually love Jazz, and they make for a captivating audience.

With Maasai blankets laid out, picnic baskets at arm’s length; Kenyans from all walks of life welcomed an eclectic mix of artistes with varying international acclaim.

From our very own Juma Tutu of Swahili Jazz, to Uganda’s Isaiah Katumwa, Jazz was coming back to its African roots.

STAY RELEVANT

The Tomer Bar trio brought a touch from the Holy land, as Ack van Rooyen’s, Juraj Stanik and Nicolas Kummert dished out their European flavors.

Soweto Kinch was a party favorite with his fusion of hip hop freestyles and authentic Jazz runs on his Saxophone.

South African guitarist Jimmy Dludlu had so much fun the last time around that he came back just to play with our local bands.

As far as headliners go, Jonathan Butler is a tough act to follow.

With over 40 years of experience, a Grammy nomination and a litany of awards, he is truly in a class of his own. His advice to budding artistes: “Stay relevant, never peak, music is an ocean, there is always a new frontier to pursue.

My kids have introduced me to a lot of current music that keeps my sound fresh. I actually sing with my daughter and it’s truly a blessing.”

His performance was riveting even for those who had never heard his name before.

From the classics that made him an R-n-B child star in the 70’s, Miriam Makeba and Bob Marly renditions to gospel singles that have endeared him to a global audience.

His performance set incorporated the talents of all the other African giants present, creating an unforgettable moment of African brilliance.

The show left audiences and showbiz practitioners with a whole new concept of what a concert is supposed to be.

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