Safaricom Jazz Lounge in December to feature Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown


Safaricom will this December host the latest edition of the Safaricom Jazz Lounge, with highly acclaimed Grammy Award Winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown, multiple Grammy Award Nominee Gerald Albright, and fast rising jazz artist Shelea Frazier set to entertain music lovers in Nairobi and Mombasa.

The four, who will perform their widely celebrated A Gospel According to Jazz, will kick off their performances at the Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi on 3rd December before taking the show to Mombasa’s Haller Park on 5th December, in what will be the first performance of its kind in the coastal city since the launch of the Safaricom Jazz Lounge.

Kirk Whalum is  a famous  jazz saxophonist and songwriter, who most notably toured with the late Whitney Houston for seven years and had an outstanding solo part in her single “I will always love you”, the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. He also received a Grammy award for Best Gospel Song in 2006.

He will be joined on stage by equally illustrious musician Gerald Albright, a well-known multi-instrumentalist and saxophonist, who has sold over a million albums in the U.S alone. He has also worked with great artists of our time, like Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, Phil Collins and Chaka Khan among a very impressive list. He is also a member of the Grammy-nominated band Summer Horns.

Completing the ensemble will be Norman Brown, a brilliant and skilled smooth jazz guitarist and singer. He is famous for his work with Boyz II Men and Stevie Wonder – and Shelea Frazier, a fast-rising singer, songwriter and producer who shot into the spotlight following her widely celebrated tribute to Whitney Houston. He’s had great success in his career, a No. 1 smooth jazz radio hit, “Let’s Take A Ride,” taken from the album Stay With Me, and his producer having received a Grammy award -best pop instrumental album for 2002’s ‘Just Chillin’. He also received a Soul Train award for Best Jazz Album in 1995.

“In February we hosted over 10,000 jazz lovers at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival held at the Ngong Racecourse, and in August had the pleasure of bringing Salif Keita to Kenya for the Safaricom Jazz Lounge, so we see there is great demand for high quality live jazz music concerts,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

“As a build-up to the 2016 edition of the Jazz Festival in February – where three-time Grammy Award Winner Branford Marsalis will perform – we are honoured to have the opportunity to have four of the best jazz musicians of our time joining us to usher in the festive season.”

Curtain-raising for the quartet will be Kenyan acts Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band, and AfroSync, who have made their names in the Kenyan jazz scene thanks to their unique sounds. Edward Parseen is an incredibly talented jazz saxophonist, vocalist and trumpeter who together with the Different Faces Band lights up the crowds with a skillful mastery of the art.  He has graced international jazz festivals such as The Royal Carre in Amsterdam 2009, Daughters of Africa tour, 2009, and Donors Dinner Concert; Utrecht Netherlands, 2009, Jazz under the Stars 2013/2014 and Samosa Festival2013/2014. Parseen has also performed as a session musician for theatre productions including The phantom of the opera, Fiddler on the roof and Joseph and the Amazing dream coat.

The Different Faces Band are composed of bass player Etienne Mangala, Shabaan Musyoka on the drums, keyboard player Moses Njoroge, a classically trained pianist, producer and resident keyboardist for Coke Studio Africa, and guitarist Issack Kimetto who offer smooth, intense, contemporary pop and African jazz music. Parseen and Different Faces have also led and been part of producing concerts and shows in collaboration with other musicians and artists including: June Gachui, Chris Bittok, Brian Mugenyi (Uganda), Jacob Asiyo, Eric Wainaina, Atemi Oyungu, Makadem, Denise Gordon, Eddie Grey, Aaron Rimbui, Threat Band, Mwai and the Truth and many more. Afrosync are talented band comprised of members Zach Amunga, Tim Riungu, Uledi Dzidze, George Mutinda and MacKinley Mutsembi  who specialize in playing jazz, Latin & contemporary Afro music.

“As has been the tradition with our jazz concerts, all proceeds from the Safaricom Jazz Lounge in both Nairobi and Mombasa, and the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, will go towards supporting the Korogocho-based Ghetto Classics music programme,” added Mr. Collymore.

Ghetto Classics offers music education to over 300 underprivileged youth, and has so far benefitted from an estimated Ksh.12 million raised through Safaricom’s jazz music properties.

Tickets to the Safaricom Jazz Lounge go on sale on Friday 20th November, and will be retailing at Ksh.1, 500 for advance tickets, Ksh.2, 000 at the gate and Ksh.500 for students. They will be available from select Safaricom outlets (Sarit Centre, Thika Road Mall, Galleria Mall, Junction Mall, BuruBuru, Village Market, I&M and Nakumatt Mega in Nairobi, and Nyali and Rex Shop in Mombasa).

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