All that jazz: One-on-one with Josh Hozheri

Jazz 105 business director Josh Hozheri (JH) is probably Zimbabwe’s top jazz promoter today. The jazz personality, who is also director of Winter Jazz Festival and Women in Jazz, took time to speak to NewsDay’s Munya Simango (ND) on the sidelines of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Jazz Night held in the at Jazz 105 recently. Below are some excerpts from the interview:

ND: Thank you for taking the time to speak to NewsDay. What is your view of the jazz scene in Zimbabwe at the moment?
JH: Jazz is stagnant in Zimbabwe at the moment; there are a few pockets of activity, though.

ND: Jazz 105 probably hosts the most jazz shows in any given year. Are audiences big enough or is the genre dying?
JH: In terms of numbers I think there is a decrease in audiences, which I want to attribute to two reasons. Jazz music has been overtaken by the commercial genres and there is lack of creativity among the new generation of jazz artists. Music is a fashion and we have been very slow to adapt to new trends. Getting into the studio is not enough, more needs to be done.

ND: Winter Jazz Festival marked its 10th anniversary last year, can you give us some background on the festival?
JH: Winter Jazz Festival is one of the grandest jazz gatherings in the country today. It started with very few bands; it grew bigger when we secured some corporate sponsorship.

ND: What kind of journey have you travelled with the festival this far?
JH: We founded this festival with Sam Mataure and Tami Msimanga and I have been running the festival since its inception. It has been a long journey, at times challenging, but it was great. In terms of appeal, it has been a great success because our numbers keep growing.

ND: What is the focus of the festival?
JH: To bring the jazz family (the artists and the connoisseurs) together and to develop artists and the genre in general.

ND: What challenges have you faced with the Winter Jazz Festival?
JH: Financing from sponsors and finding venues that are big enough to carry numbers in winter.

ND: What are you planning for the Winter Jazz Festival in the future?
JH: To grow the festival; I am a strong admirer of the Cape Town Jazz Festival. We hope to get to that level one day.

ND: Last year you launched the Women in Jazz Festival, tell us more about that. What are its goals?
JH: To encourage the girl child to take up music as a profession and to showcase the talent in women.

ND: What is your favourite pastime when you are not involved in music?
JH: I play soccer with my old friends. The oldest player in our team is Ignatius Kapfunde who is also involved in music. He also manages two bands.

ND: Who are some of the notable personalities that you have worked with?
JH: Sam Mataure, the late Lenox Chibanda, Dr Gibson Mandishona, Kunle Ayo, Jimmy Dludlu and Austin Zvoma.

ND: Tell us about yourself and your family. How are you as a parent and partner?
JH: I am married to Flora and because I work odd hours I do not have time for homework. At home I am everyone’s friend and I try to make Sunday a family day.

ND: Josh, thank you very much for your time. We hope to speak to you more in the future.

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