Safaricom International Jazz Festival 2019: Highlights

The 6th Safaricom International Jazz Festival’s main event took place at the Training Grounds in Kasarani Stadium yesterday Sunday, 17th February 2019. Jazz lovers came out in huge numbers on a sunny afternoon and the venue quickly filled up as time went by.

Marcus Miller who is a two time Grammy winner with several nominations under his belt was this year’s headline act. Having Miller perform this year was special, especially to the organizers who have been trying to get him for years. It was definitely worth the wait.

The festival has had a number of top Kenyan jazz bands play every year. Guitarist, Kato Change and his band were chosen to give the festival some much needed Kenyan flavour this year. They started off with a tribute message and song dedicated to Ayub Ogada, who was a Kenyan born artiste who played the Nyatiti and was the co-founder of the African Heritage band in 1979. They played “Koth Biro” and it was so powerful to watch Idd Aziz sing as the crowd joined in.

Also, performing at this year’s event were Omri Mor Trio from Israel, Yazmin Lacey from the UK, Toine Thys Trio feat Herve Samb from Belgium, another solo vocalist Vivian with her band from Portugal, the techno jazz sensations Jazzrausch Bigband from Germany.

All the acts had a unique style about their performance. We arrived when Toine Thys Trio were on stage and their set was a bit mellow at times and full of quiet energy from time to time. In between the sets, the MC Kavutha engaged the crowd with some information about the festival, exciting giveaways and group photo sessions. David Muriithi aka DJ D Lite was killing it on the decks too.

The other acts that tore up the roof were Jazzrausch who were not only the biggest band but also a techno band.

Bob Collymore got on stage at 6pm to introduce Marcus who the audience was eagerly awaiting.

Miller and the rest of the band- five in total, were beautiful to watch and listen to.

Maureen Shelmith, a writer and the brains behind Jazz Symphonic had this to say about the event: “All in all, it was an excellent gig, we were able to experience such level of musicianship on the SJF platform. For Miller, he was a killer. His performance was superb – as you would expect. When he slapped against the strings of the bass, you could feel the musical funkiness and his chop-heavy arrangements. Marcus truly rounded off a stunning performance with his astounding performance yesterday.”

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