Jazz music is considered by most enthusiasts as one of the purest form expressions of creativity in music. It can be spontaneous, versatile, romantic, joyful; it is the perfect soundtrack to life’s various moments. At its core, Jazz music is flamboyant and showy with several strings of flirty and seductive thrown in for good measure. Jazz musicians have to be bold and risky, often walking that knife’s edge between cacophony and genius and this is what makes it so beautiful. It is the perfect type of music for anyone who appreciates the pure expression of emotion through music.
For most people however, Jazz music can be a bit intimidating and is often mistakenly associated with people who act snobbish, or have an inflated sense of self-importance. This however, could not be further from the truth. Most people are usually quite surprised to learn that at some point in their lives, they have enjoyed one form of Jazz music or another. This is especially true with people who have enjoyed Congolese music, which has been very heavily influenced by Jazz, especially music by some of the greats like Mbilia Bel, and Franco with his TPOK Jazz Band. The fact that Jazz music has its silky fingers in the origins of most of the music that we enjoy today, including Rock, Hip-hop, RnB and Neo Soul is usually lost on most people as well.
Where to start?
This year, the Headliner at the Safaricom Jazz Festival is Grammy award winning American Jazz maestro David Sanborn, who is a wizard with an Alto Saxophone. There are people out there who would love to go to the Jazz Festival, but have no idea where to begin in order for them to enjoy the performances. However, since we are feeling sufficiently philanthropic, and above all for the love of the music, we have compiled a few performances that are available on YouTube, to get you started.
Isaiah Katumwa featuring Hugh Masekela
To Start you off, we thought you would enjoy this very mellow performance by Isaiah Katumwa Featuring South African legend Hugh Masekela from 2015. At this point, you would expect me to bore you with some bourgeois explanation about this instrument or the other, but I will let you just enjoy a great example of how awesome Afro Jazz can get.
Jimmy Dludlu at the Calabar International Jazz Festival 2013
This Jimmy Dludlu performance at the Calabar music festival in 2013 is a melding and coming together of the guitar, the Sax and a keyboard to make a magnificent saple of what smooth Jazz is all about. IT makes you want to put on a tuxedo, pick up a Martini with olives at the bar and just be fancy.
David Sanborn & Joey DeFrancesco – Let The Good Times Roll
This is the perfect feel good song. It will have you clapping your hands at some point, tapping your foot and chair dancing. You will want to have someone to spin around and shake it with. The upbeat rhythm, the solo stretches and the guy on the drums will effortlessly have you moving. The organ solo especially; trust me, very much worth watching.
David Sanborn- Run For Cover
When David Sanborn wants to make an upbeat smooth jazz track, he really does. You can tell the dude on the bass guitar is having the time of his life up there. To listen to this one, you need three things; A dance partner, some room with lots of free space and an audience to witness the amount of groove you will be unleashing.
BWB (Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun) at the Cape Town Jazz festival.
These guys can jam. That is all I have to say on that subject. This is work music, concert music, cleaning the house music, all rolled into one. They know how to rope you into the performance, make you feel like you are part of the band, like the music is moving from within you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The beauty that is Jazz music spans through several sub genres. Some take time to get used to, but some just take you with them from the moment you listen and never let you go. For this edition of the Safaricom Jazz Festival, prepare yourself to be blown away and to have a lot of fun.