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‘A gospel according to Jazz’. How utterly cool is that? That is what we’re looking forward to live at the Carnivore Grounds on the 3rd of December as the Safaricom Jazz Lounge comes in with a line-up of award winning Jazz musicians. Residents of Mombasa will also experience the same performances on December 5th Haller Park. This time round, jazz enthusiasts will be treated to the Sax powerhouses and Grammy Award winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Albright, multiple Grammy Award nominee Gerald Albright and upcoming star Shelea Frazier.

As is the ‘tradition’, the jazz festival is putting Kenyan Jazz stars alongside the visiting industry heavyweights in a gesture that could only act to expose either side to greater markets.  Through the Safaricom Jazz platform for example, Swahili Jazz band has got to share a stage with Jimmy Dlu Dlu and Isaiah Katumwa has got to share a stage with Jonathan Butler. That’s in earlier concerts.

The curtain raisers for this edition of Safaricom Jazz Lounge are one, Afrosync Band and two, Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band. Safaricom showcased these bands at a Kenyan Jazz extravaganza last night at Michael Joseph Centre and it is clear to see that there is a lot to look forward to. Not to say that the other acts were shabby but I was completely taken by the performances of Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band. Edward displayed some serious mastery on the sax and I can’t wait to watch him again at the main event on 3rd.

Others at the Kenyan Jazz event were Sahili Family, a Christian band that performs smooth Jazz and Blues, Fyuz’d Band, a quartet that specializes in Acid, Lounge and Contemporary Jazz, Shamsi Music and Scott the Violinist.

Tickets to the 3rd December concert are on sale for Kshs.1,500/- advance and Kshs.2,000 at the gate. Student tickets are going for Kshs.500/-. If Salif Keita’s is anything to go by, I’d grab tickets well in advance. His show sold out way before the performance and there were no tickets left for those who were hoping to purchase them at the gate.

Advance tickets will be available at the Safaricom outlets at Sarit Centre, Thika Road Mall, Galleria Mall, Junction Mall, BuruBuru, Village Market, I&M and Nakumatt Mega in Nairobi,. Mombasa tickets will be available at Nyali and the Safaricom Rex House Shop along Moi Avenue Mombasa.

All the proceeds of the Safaricom Jazz Festival are in support of the great course that is Ghetto classics – a community program in Korogocho slums that works to nurture youngsters through music. This they do by instilling in them the life skills that go hand in hand with the discipline of studying the art of music. This very noble course gives the children a positive outlook on life and boosts their self confidence and determination to succeed in life despite their backgrounds. Furthermore, the program also provides them with income generating opportunities. The Ghetto classics community program involves over 300 children.

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