Jimmy Dludlu for the Next Safaricom Jazz evening in December

South African Jazz Musician Jimmy Dludlu (image courtesy)

Last night was the much anticipated evening of Jazz with Nigerian born guitarist Kunle Ayo at the Carnivore grounds. The concert which started a little past 8 pm was filled with the celebration of Jazz brewed in Africa. From the ambiance in the setup to the lights, sound systems and finally from all the Musicians who got on stage in a 3 hour feat, Jazz filled the chilly air amidst the rain that splattered beyond the dome.

Kunle is a true performer and definitely a ladies man. His performance was laced with not just his own composition but Jazz renditions of popular hits from Nigeria to Zimbabwe. At one point, our very own Suzanna Owiyo joined him on stage to sing with him one of her songs.The evening had a pleasant surprise for me and many other Jazz lovers who were wondering..

Just who will Safaricom bring next?

From the 4th – 5th of December, South African Jazz Musician and Guitarist Jimmy Dludlu will be in Nairobi for an evening concert. JIMMY DLUDLU was 13 years old when he first picked up a cousin’s home made guitar and started teaching himself to play by imitating the jazz and African music he heard on the radio. His first performances were at township weddings and functions with his cousin.

His career took off in earnest in the mid-1980’s, when he worked with various southern African bands including Impandze from Swaziland, featuring Jamaican singer Trevor Hall, Kalahari and Satari from Botswana, as well as Anansi, featuring the Ghanaian saxophonist George Lee. A highlight of this period was his performance with Anansi at the Botswana Independence celebrations in 1986, alongside a range of African stars including Thomas Mapfumo.

Jimmy Dludlu’s style includes wide-ranging influences, combining both traditional and modern elements of jazz drawn from among others Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Pat Metheny, to South African legends Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, Hugh Masekela, Themba Mokwena, and Allen Kwela. He is particularly drawn to the sounds of west and central Africa, as well as Latin America, but says jazz remains his first love. His numerous original compositions fall within the tradition of what has been loosely termed Afro-Jazz.

Jimmy has produced 6 albums with his last one being Sound and Vision released in 2008. My favourite is his Afrocentric album in which he featured US Gospel & RnB singer Bebe Winans.

At this rate, I dare not speculate who the headline act for the Safaricom International Jazz Festival 2015 will be but I am definitely looking forward to an evening with Jimmy Dludlu.

(Image courtesy of mg.co.za)

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