Jazz lovers will be in for a treat when globally acclaimed South African jazz maestro Hugh Masekela takes the stage at the Safaricom Jazz Lounge, scheduled for Friday 12th August.
While the two-time Grammy Award nominee is not new to Kenya, this will be his first appearance at the Safaricom Jazz Lounge, which is one of a series of events that lead up to the annual Safaricom International Jazz Festival.
"It will be exciting to perform for the emerging Jazz community in Kenya, which is slowly building a reputation as a notable addition to the continent's jazz circuit," said Mr. Masekela.
Masekela – who was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1968 for Best Contemporary Pop Performance (Instrumental) for his album Grazin' in the Grass – has released over 40 albums in a career spanning over 60 years, in that time working with numerous artists in the USA, Africa and Europe including Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Otis Redding, Harry Belafonte and Herb Alpert among others.
The now 77-year-old composer, singer and instrumentalist received another Grammy nomination in 2011 for his critically acclaimed album Jabulani. He released his latest album – Playing @ Work – in 2013.
"We are honored to be hosting the one of the most influential African Jazz musicians; a man who has not only played an integral role in advancing Afro – Jazz music on the world stage but also showed the world the role of music in bringing social change," said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
Proceeds from all ticket sales will be donated to the Ghetto Classics music programme based in Korogocho. Ghetto Classics has been supported by the Safaricom International Jazz Festival since 2014 and has so far received over KES 19 million, funds that have gone towards the purchase of music instruments and training of over 500 children from the slum and its environs.
"This year, in partnership with the Art of Music, which runs Ghetto Classics, we hope to scale up the programme to reach more talented kids in Kisumu and Mombasa," said Mr. Collymore.
The Safaricom Jazz Lounge will be preceded by the Safaricom Jazz Night, which will be held at the Hotel Intercontinental on 28th July 2016. A new addition to the corporate's jazz calendar, the event will kick off a series of monthly jazz concerts that will give Kenyan jazz musicians a platform to showcase their talent while at the same time meeting growing demand for quality live music performances.
Three bands selected from a round of competitive auditions will perform at the inaugural Jazz Night: Nairobi Horns Project, Mwai and The Truth and Shamsi Music.
"We decided to introduce monthly jazz nights to give a chance to more jazz musicians to perform for music fans, as we realised that there is a lot of talent that should be celebrated all year round and not just at the annual festival in February," said Mr. Collymore.
"There is also a lot of interest from up-and-coming jazz musicians from other African countries who would like to perform at the Jazz Festival, so to accommodate them we plan to feature them in the monthly shows," said Mr. Collymore.
The first edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival was held in February 2014 and was headlined by New-York based Cameroonian artist Richard Bona