Stellar performances mark local edition of International Jazz Day

Josh Meck

The much-awaited local edition of International Jazz Day lived up to expectation, on Tuesday night, when a bumper crowd flocked the Zimbabwe German Society (ZGS) to witness a collaboration concert organised by musician Josh Meck, Golden Pilsener and Viceroy.

The well-organised concert, managed by marketing specialist Spiwe Ndlovu, featured a fusion of rhythm that saw Meck's set alongside keyboardist Nic Nare, saxophonist Sir Arundel, drummer Brian Ziko and backing vocalist Sharon.

Other talented musicians on the bill included Prudence Katomeni, Rute Mbangwa, Nicholar Mutuwa, Mono Mukundu and Victor Kunonga.

"I was blown away by the support that we received both from fans and the people that came to support the festival," Meck told NewsDay Life & Style adding that this signalled the beginning of new explorations and development in the genre.

"We are going to be doing more of these shows including, not only that but also workshops to try and foster knowledge about what jazz is because there's a lot of misconception about the genre.

“People think that when you play smooth, slow music or when a song is just slow it is jazz (but) there is a whole concept to jazz, so we also need to start educating the young ones and the public about what it is."

Meanwhile, Dereck Mpofu made a surprise appearance before Willis Wataffi Afirika who was invited on stage by Prudence towards the end of the show. Wataffi took the crowd down memory lane with Afrika Revenge's yesteryear hit song "Wanga".

Also in attendance was Jazz patron and renowned eye specialist Solomon Guramatunhu –who was the guest of honour, Katrin Simon (German embassy head of culture) and prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

"It was an amazing experience and a super honour to be up on stage with artists whom I idolised before I began my musical journey as well as fellow artists I am now proud to call my friends. I felt special and encouraged amid my elders. We all amazingly complemented each other so well and I feel it's the beginning of a swell jazz musical journey," Nicholar said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Katomeni said having a platform to perform is always welcome and appreciated by a lot of local jazz artists.

"Having such a unique event being put together was special…I truly enjoyed the whole event, it was absolutely memorable and of course, I cannot leave out the audience that came through to listen to some fantastic jazz music and celebrate in one accord the beauty of jazz music," said Katomeni.

International Jazz Day is recognised in over 190 countries worldwide.

In Harare the crowd's enthusiasm was palpable, and the artists fed off the energy, pushing the boundaries of their creativity. Rute Mbangwa performed Shiri an original composition as well as the song ‘Autumn Leaves’ which is a jazz standard track.

"The jazz show was an unforgettable experience," said Mbangwa after her display in which she perfomed Shiri, an original composition as well as the song ‘Autumn Leaves’ –a jazz standard track.

"Collaborating with fellow musicians allowed us to create a mesmerising fusion of sounds that left the audience enthralled. It was a true celebration of the power of jazz in bringing people together to create something beautiful in the moment.

The concert not only showcased unity of purpose among the artists but also Meck's organisational capacity in putting together a seamless experience for jazz lovers and highlighting the genre's vibrant community.

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 and recognised by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide.

The annual International Jazz Day celebration highlights the power of jazz and its role in promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity and respect for human dignity.

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