Jazz Music Festival beckons

HARARE - Jazz music fans will be in for a treat this weekend when The Time & Jazz presents the Jazz Music Festival at Cresta Oasis Car Park in Harare on Friday and Saturday.

And to entice new jazz audiences, the festival will bring headline musicians from other music genres with dendera ace Suluman Chimbetu opening the Friday edition while Jah Prayzah will close the festival on Saturday.

The official opening of the festival will take place on Thursday at Harare’s The Time & Jazz which is meant for invited guests only.

Singers Diana Samkange, Edith WeUtonga and Progress Chipfumo will entertain guests.

While Chimbetu will headline the Friday event which will commence at 5pm, he will share the stage slot with seasoned jazz masters Jabavu, Gary Tight and Selmor Mtukudzi.

On Saturday, the festival will kick off at 2pm so as to accommodate wholesome families with Prince Edward Jazz Band and St George Jazz Band joining the afternoon party while Alexio Kawara, WeUtonga, Sam Dondo, Pamela “Gonyeti” Zulu and the Old Timers will take turns to entertain crowds. Jah Prayzah will close the Saturday showcase.

Longtime music promoter, Josh Hozheri, who has in the past successfully held the Jazz Music Festival promised a flawless music filled event.

“This year, we decided to hold the event at Cresta Oasis Car Park because it is spacious.

“Cresta Oasis Hotel has given us this venue and they will provide braais and drinks of all manner, they will create a festival atmosphere with big fires so as to chase away the wintry winds.

“The Saturday showcase has the whole family in mind, while the Friday one will open the two-day partying,” said Hozheri.

The promoter said it was deliberate for them to include musicians outside the jazz music genre.

“We did this so as to draw numbers to the festival as jazz music alone will not bring many to the party; this is just a marketing gesture. In doing this we will also be introducing music fans to jazz.

“We have invited two school jazz music outfits; Prince Edward Jazz Band and St George Jazz Band because we want youngsters to attend and this include school children.

“We are also giving these young bands the platform to share the stage with seasoned musicians.

“Today, all we hear is Zim-dancehall and indeed it is dominating the scene. And this is the music listened to by those below 30 years, a generation which we are also targeting.”

Hozheri blamed a lack of interest to promote the genre by music promoters as the main reason why there has been this dip in interest.

“The promoters are now concentrating more on the commercial genres like sungura and Zimdancehall because they make a quick buck.

“This has even killed gospel music which used to shine and we are saying we want to bring back the glory days of live jazz gigs.”

The promoter, who used to run Jazz 105 bemoaned the closure of jazz music spaces which he said attributed the near extinction of the genre on the local showbiz.

“After the closure of jazz music venues like Jazz 105 and the Mannenberg in Harare, Bulawayo’s Alabama and others in Mutare and Chinhoyi it has been difficult to promote the jazz music genre. We need to work hard and rekindle lost affection among audiences.”

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