Safaricom Jazz has announced that it will celebrate this year’s International Jazz Day with a concert that will be held on 1st May at the Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi.

The concert will be under the theme Celebrating African Jazz and will feature an African line-up. It will be headlined by renowned drummer Paco Sery from Ivory Coast and noted keyboardist and vocalist Cheick Tidiane Seck from Mali. They will be joined by Mandla Mlangeni and The Tune Creation Committee from South Africa. Kenyan acts performing include; Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music, Kato Change and the Change Experience, Jacob and Kavutha Asiyo, and the Ghetto Classics.

International Jazz Day is celebrated around the globe each year in appreciation of the music genre. Last year’s event by Safaricom featured Manu Dibango and the Soul Makossa Gang (Cameroon), who shared the stage with Kenyan acts that included Edward Parseen, Afro Sync Band, James Gogo, Shamsi Music, Eddie Grey and Chris Bittok.

The headline act, Sery, began his career in 1980 when respected French organist Eddy Loiuss sent out a call for artistes for a record he was making. He successfully played on the record and has been active as a musician ever since. He got a break in his career when Austrian-American synthesizer virtuoso Joe Zawinul took him under his wing. Seck is a Malian composer who has written for and played with world-famous African musicians such as Fela Kuti, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and American jazz maestros Dee Dee Bridgewater and the late Hank Jones.

Safaricom Jazz Festival has also partnered with a project known as the Jazz Sister Cities. The organization promotes Jazz as a tool for building cultural bridges globally through engagement and collaboration with cities, programs, and artists. Nairobi, through the festival will officially join the Jazz Sister Cities Network on the day of the event. It will present Sylwester Ostrowski & The Jazz Brigade ft. Dorota Miskiewicz – Freddie Hendrix to perform at the International Jazz Day Celebrations.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards supporting the Ghetto Classics music programme, which has received approximately Ksh. 60 million since the inception of the Safaricom Jazz Festival in 2014. These funds cater for music training, schooling and basic needs for members of the programme in Nairobi and Mombasa. The programme plans to expand to Kisumu this year.

The Safaricom Jazz series of events were founded in 2014 by Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. It involves a main festival in February, the Safaricom Jazz Festival, and smaller events during the year called Safaricom Jazz Lounges. Musicians that have performed in the events series include the late Hugh MasekelaRichard BonaJonathan ButlerSalif KeitaAlune Wade and jazz band BWB.  Kenyan musicians that have performed include Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music, Mwai and the Truth, AfroSync, Edward Parseen and The Different Faces, Jacob Asiyo and Kavutha Mwanzia – Asiyo, James Gogo, Juma Tutu, Chris Bittok, Limericks, Mambo Tribe and Eddie Grey.

Event details

  • What: Safaricom Jazz International Jazz Day 2019: Celebrating African Jazz
  • Date: Wednesday, 1st May, 2019
  • Venue: Carnivore Grounds
  • Time: Gates open at 11am, show starts at 12 noon
  • Tickets: Ksh. 2,000 for adults and Ksh. 500 for students (proof of ID must be provided)