The opening concert of the Italian Embassy-organised Three Nights of International Jazz was held at the Italian Club on Wednesday this week.
The audience was treated to some fantastic performances from Oliver Mtukudzi, The Andrea Marcelli Quartet from Italy and The CMS Trio from Spain.
The special guest artiste at the festival, Tuku, opened the concert.
The superstar gave an acoustic performance accompanied by Sam Mataure on percussion and Philip Tsikirai on mbira and backing vocals.
The acoustic trio concept was tight and Tuku will be taking this to Europe at the end of this month.
Tuku played some laid-back jazz versions of his hits Ndipeiwo Zano, Handiro Dambudziko, Neria, Muchatuta and Ndima Ndapedza.
He went into full flight when he performed his closing song, Ndima Ndapedza.
He took the tempo a notch higher and it sounded like he was playing with a full band.
Overall his performance was masterful and out of this world.
Tuku connected and bonded with the audience emotionally.
The Andrea Marcelli Quartet played with typical Italian flair.
Led by the saxophone, they gave a passionate performance with colourful notes and solos that blew the audience away.
Their music has influences from the big band style of the 30s. This quartet combines the saxophone, the piano, the big bass and percussion to create a sound that is so real that one could almost reach out and touch it.
The atmosphere was convivial and electric.
The show came to a climax with the performance from CMS Trio from Spain.
Their innovations and improvisations are unique and they make use of the swing note.
The drummer gave an exceptional solo that left the audience wanting more.
The trio’s performance was a fitting closure to a wonderful concert.
Three Nights of International Jazz is an initiative of the Italian Embassy, the Spanish Embassy and corporate sector partners.
The visiting artistes will also perform at Sanganai, the tourism expo organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
After Sanganai, they will hold workshops and concerts at Chisipite High School and participants will be drawn from schools around Harare.
The Italian Embassy has been involved in a number of cultural activities in Zimbabwe.
Last year, they hosted a jazz festival at the Harare International Conference Centre.
In April of this year, they partnered with the Harare Jazz Festival.
The embassy and corporate partners made it possible for the Silvia Manco Quartet to perform at Harare Jazz Festival.