Joe, Norman Brown for Upcoming Nile Gold Jazz Safari

It is 74 days to the D-day scheduled for Friday, October 3 at the Kampala Serena hotel however, the enthusiasm is already building. Last Tuesday, the sponsors, Nile Breweries Limited, through their Nile Gold brand, held a function to officially confirm the concert, announcing that it would be graced by American RampB singer Joe Thomas, and smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown.

The function, which took place at Moringa Ogilvy offices in Bugolobi, had an open bar and restaurant – with a small stage in the gardens where the DJ played Joe’s music videos on the projector. It was simple but elegant!

New jazz kid on the block Michael Kitanda cheered up the crowd with his Semusajja single – as former Limit X singer-turned-businessman Isaac Ruuci played MC of the event. This was before Nile Breweries’ Sponsorship and Branding Manager Isaac Ssekasi took to the podium, revealing that Joe and Norman would perform alongside a-five-man Tizer Jazz band.

Tizer is Joe’s official band and it comprises of saxophonist Steve Nieves, drummer Raul Pineda, guitarist Chieli Minucci, and bassist Andre Manga and Lao Tizer. This year’s concert will run under the theme “Nu jazz and neo soul supremacy”.

Like the case has been for the past three years, part of the proceeds will go towards a charitable cause. Last year, the proceeds went towards setting up a cancer ward at Nsambya hospital and earlier this year, the organizers handed over a cheque of Shs 20m to the Rotaract group, championing the cause.

This year, the organizers are also aiming at improving the skills of instrumentalists. This will be through a musical workshop to be held at the Kampala Music School. The workshop will be conducted by renowned jazz pianist Arlington Jones Jr. Jones was here in 2010 with Albright.

This time round, there is also a new twist to the event. Nile Gold has come up with a new promotion dubbed “Crack the code”.

With this promotion, selected outlets will have a ‘safe’, which contains various prizes, among which will be tickets to the concert, and the meet-and-greet VIP event with the artistes before the concert. All one has to do is to buy four Nile Gold beers in the selected outlets and you will automatically enter the competition by receiving a code. If you enter the code and it’s correct, then you win instantly.

This year’s ticket is Shs 170,000 for ordinary, Shs 300,000 for VIP and Shs 2.7m for a table. Jazz safari started six years, as a brainchild of guitarist Tshaka Mayanja. It started in a simple way, in the parking lot of Ange Noir discotheque. Pessimists doubted whether it would live to see another day, but ever since Nile Breweries got on board, it has grown from strength to strength, moving the venue to Kampala Serena hotel.

Last year, the concert was graced by Keith Sweat, Tom Braxton and the John Blackwell Project. In 2012, it was vocal sensation Regina Bell, while in 2011 it was Gerald Albright and Howard Hewit. In 2010, it was South Africa’s Jonathan Butler and Gerald Albright.

This year, all eyes are on Joe and Norman.

Source : The Observer

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