On the February9, 2013, a few well known African jazz musicians had a concert at the National Museum court yard in Nairobi. The concert was dubbed “All That Jazz” and hosted by one of Africa’s greatest pianists, Aaron “crucial” Rimbui. It was graced by Maurice Kirya, who is undoubtedly Uganda’s best jazz musician, Erick Wainaina, and Atemi. “All that Jazz” concert has always been held regularly in Kenya to connect with the growing fun base of jazz music within the country.
Every time the concert is held, different guest artists from Africa are invited to perform. Looking at this line up of artistes who were to perform at the concert, I could not afford missing it. I have always characterized jazz as an instrumental and rhythmic kind of music which excites me. I made sure that I had a ticket in advance to avoid the last minute rush.
Thirteen pieces of jazz music were performed that evening at the concert. Aaron Rimbui was obviously on the Piano, the instrument he loves best, blending grooves from other artistes and instrumentalists.
Most of the performances took their cues from African classic fusion groups including Kalamashaka and Kayamba Africa. There was diversity in the performances. Some of the performers and artists took music from other genres and blended them with jazz fusion. The audience was very impressed by the idea as they were able to enjoy some of the popular pieces of music from other genres.
As usual the stage was well lit and the performers had confidence as they entertained the audience. The audience consisted of both young and middle aged adults. I could quickly judge that the ratio of male to female is almost equal. Since this was a jazz music concert, it was obvious the kind of audience that would appreciate the performance. Some of the people in the audience chose to be calm and still as they watched through the entire show up to the end.
But others decided to join the performers at the dance hall while slowly moving to the sound of the rhythm. Since jazz is a soothing music, one can obviously guess the appropriate dance to the music. As the Ugandan guest artiste performed one of hit singles “Malaika”, couples within the audience rose to dance in pairs. The song is a common love song which has been translated in various languages and performed in several global concerts.
In the auditorium, a section of the audience was very conservative. The audience’s reaction was quite normal since this is not the first time that classical dance music is shown at National Museum court yard in Nairobi. It was a re-staging of an older work performed severally in many theatres around world. Usually in jazz music, the audiences come expecting something not different from what they know. This is the reason for the conservative nature of audiences.
The audience constantly showed appreciation for the performers and the dancers by applauding after each and every piece. Everyone had to stay still initially listening to the performers before the dance was incorporated into the music. The music itself had balanced and harmonious phrases. The melodies were elegant that the audience was so impressed.
Considering the nature of classical music from the traditional perspective, such pieces are only supposed to be performed in such a way. There is no need of oral presentations and recording. However conventional classical music have tried to embrace certain things such as recording of the performances for commercialization purpose. I could see camera men in the auditorium taking footages of the performances especially the dance performances.
The concert was different from musical concerts of other genres. Its unique style is what makes it different and stand out. The audience was not engaged compared to other concerts rock concerts where the fans have to really be active to create the connection between the performer and the audience. In classical dance music, the audience shows respect to artists by being still and applauding after a performance. In this way the connection is created.
The “All that Jazz” concert at the Nairobi national museum court yard was an enjoyable evening. It was full of good music that stimulated my intellectual and musical experience. The concert was dubbed “All That Jazz” and hosted by one of Africa’s greatest pianists, Aaron “crucial” Rimbui. It was graced by Maurice Kirya, who is undoubtedly Uganda’s best jazz musician, Erick Wainaina, and Atemi. It was interesting to see the diversification in the pieces of music performed.
This is the one thing that stood out for me after the concert. Most of the jazz music performances are borrowed from pieces from other genre of music. For instance, it is possible to transform a piece of blues into jazz. At the concert most of the performances were from classical African cues. Appreciating the diverse nature of jazz music makes one to have a diverse approach and mind set towards issues in life.