Branson Marsalis Quartet_12_by Eric Ryan Anderson

Jazz lovers are in for yet another treat as Jazz artist Branford Marsalis is coming to headline the Safaricom Internatinal Jazz Festival 2016. The concert will be held on 21st February.

Branford Marsalis is a three time Grammy award winning artist whose career also boasts achievements such as touring with British singer Phil Collins as well as rock star Sting. In 2012, in another career highlight, Branford’s band ‘The Branford Marsalis Quartet’ held the title Best Instrumental Jazz album on iTunes.

Other than the New Orleans born artist who will be the main act, Safaricom International Jazz Festival will also have a further line-up of jazz musicians from other parts of Africa, Middle East and Kenya. Among them will be Kunle Ayo, the Nigerian born guitarist who is making a comeback. Kunle first performed at the September 2014 event.

In a concert that could very well convert even the most skeptical of jazz listeners into an ardent fan, Belgian Jazz and Classical music pianist and composer Jef Neve, Italian duo Giampaolo Nuti and Francesco D’Orazio, Maya Beltsitzman and Matan Ephrat from Israel, Shabaka Hutchings from the UK and Siya Makuzeni from South Africa, will join Marsalis on stage.

It is exciting for the Kenyan jazz scene that AfroSync Band and Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band will share the stage with these international stars. We saw these two bands in performance as they curtain raised for Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Gerald Albright and Shelea at the Safaricom Jazz Lounge in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Look out for ticket sales which will be starting in early February. Tickets be available via m-ticketing, at Safaricom outlets as well as at the Michael Joseph Center. As always it is better to buy yours early to avoid the last minute rush, and to cushion yourself in case of a ‘sold out’ scenario which can be quite frustrating. I witnessed this during Salif Keita’s performance and the pain of people missing out on the concert because they didn’t buy tickets on time was evident.

Advance tickets will be going for Kshs.1,000/- for adults and Kshs.300/- for students. Entry for children under 12 years is free and they’ll need to be accompanied by a paying adult.

As it has been over the years, all proceeds of the February edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival will go to 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.

See you there!

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