US jazz group collaborates with local musicians

The Jazz 105 stage was a different spectacle on Monday night as visiting American jazz group, The Dennis Luxion-Michael Raynor Quartet, serenaded the audience with soothing tunes.

Most of the groups offerings were instrumentals that were well appreciated by revellers that packed the venue to the brim.

Audiences were treated to unique combinations as local musicians like Edith WeUtonga, Cool Crooners and Josh Meki joined the American group on stage.

Cool Crooners set the show alight with a performance of the popular Bulugwa Lami with the backing of The Dennis Luxion-Michael Raynor Quartet.

WeUtonga also took the mic and delighted the audience while Meki strummed his bass guitar with expertise.

Moses Kabubi of Summer Breeze also showed his prowess on the keyboard during the show.
In an earlier event members of the American group concurred jam sessions remain a vital part of jazz education.

To a large extent, the greatest musicians in this music learned how to play simply by playing with other great musicians, getting on the band stage and learning right on the spot.

Being in there, the atmosphere, hearing players that maybe already knew how to play and then stepping up and trying to play what you had learned that far, right in that setting, said drummer and band leader Michael Raynor briefing journalists on Sunday.

The Chicago-based musical jazz group, consisting of Raynor, Dennis Luxion on piano, Greg Ward on saxophone, and Jeff Pedraz on bass, arrived in Zimbabwe last Friday courtesy of the US Embassy, the US Department of State, and Jazz at Lincoln Centre in New York.

They held their first show at Prince Edward School, thrilling the audience with interactive performance.
After holding workshops with music students at the Zimbabwe College of Music and professionals at Jazz 105 during Monday afternoon, they closed the day with the jam session.

In fact, a lot of us met at the famous jam session in Chicago with the great saxophonist Von Freeman (who) has done jam sessions on the south of Chicago for close to 50 years. Its a great opportunity for young players to come in, said Raynor.


Ward (29), who said he started attending jam sessions at fifteen years of age, added: People created this culture where audience members could go and be part of it, as well as trade ideas and learn from the masters.

Its very important. It was the only education when the music was born or developed. There was not necessarily a school like there is now. It is still a very important part; there is so much to learn in the moment.

Jazz 105 proprietor Josh Hozheri said the jazz group brought a different dimension to the venue.

This is a rare show and we are very excited to be associated with this talented group. It has also been a great opportunity for local musicians to learn a few tricks, said Hozheri.

The workshops were informative and the show was great.

The Dennis Luxion-Michael Raynor Quartet plays original, hard-swinging jazz.

The group came together to create music that encompasses a wide range of styles based on the jazz tradition. The legacy of the legendary Chicago-based tenor saxophonist, Von Freeman, is especially influential on the ensembles expressive style of improvisation.

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