Jazz for the longest time has always been soothing food for the soul. Old school music lovers certainly would not disagree. A genre rich in artistic heritage, jazz has not only brought forth cultural collaborations but has also become a universal language of tolerance and freedom among many.
Jazz which is produced through a fusion of instruments such as a saxophone, guitar, drum, piano and a trumpet is often overlooked in Namibia. Surprisingly, jazz it is not appreciated enough.
Artists such as saxophonist Suzy Eises who has been basking in the limelight has managed to make jazz enjoyable by winning over the hearts of many with her performances.
Another notable Namibian musician is guitarist Jackson Wahengo has mastered the art of playing African music with a touch of jazz and reggae.
On 30 April, the world will celebrate International Jazz Day. This day was officially chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 2011.
Jazz is celebrated in many parts of the world and is believed to be a genre that has united many from different corners of the world.
Jazz has not only brought various groups such as communities, schools, artists, historians, academics and jazz enthusiasts together but has also promoted peace and respect for human rights among other things.
Speaking to local jazz enthusiast, Dr. Kagiso Moloi who is a dentist by profession and a jazz jockey by heart, Moloi shares that he has a jazz show on Energy 100 FM every Sunday from 14h00 to 16h00.
Moloi, who was very excited to share information about what the jazz scene was like in Namibia, noted that there are quite a number of people who were into jazz. He however highlighted that it was just a pity that there were not enough platforms created to accommodate jazz events.
“The jazz scene in this country is limited, there are no places we can go to that relates to the genre that we like, we used to have Bluenote a while back however that does not exist anymore”.
Moloi further explained that as a jazz DJ, he is grateful that he has been gifted with the opportunity to share this genre through radio with people from across the continent.
“I have people following me, I am not only restricted to sharing with Namibians, I also have listeners from Zimbabwe and South Africa who tune into my program through DSTV audio bouquet”.
For International Jazz Day, Moloi revealed that he will be participating in the celebrations by encompassing world jazz music from all over the world.
“On Monday 30 April, the jazz community will have an event at Sicilia restaurant at around 18h00, where Namibian Jazz artists such as Carlos Kambaekwa, Erna Chimu, Antonio, Eimpho-intle Moloi and many others will be performing”.
In other parts of the world, in St. Petersburg, festivities are set to take place in some of the city’s most significant venues.
Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and renowned saxophonist Igor Butman will serve as artistic co-directors of the all-star concert and John Beasley will serve as the evening’s musical director.
The concert will feature performances by an international roster of artists including Cyrille Aimée Oleg Akkuratov , Till Brönner , Oleg Butman , Terri Lyne Carrington, Fatoumata Diawara , Joey DeFrancesco , Vadim Eilenkrig , Kurt Elling.
Antonio Faraò , James Genus, Robert Glasper, David Goloschyokin, Hassan Hakmoun, Gilad Hekselman , Horacio Hernandez, Taku Hirano and Anatoly Kroll are also expected to perform among many more others.
Plans for the 2019 edition of International Jazz Day are underway and they include the hosting of the flagship All Star-Global Concert in the iconic Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the streets of the city will come alive with jazz through a daylong program of “Jazz in Squares,” featuring school bands and jazz combos.