Afro-jazz saxophonist Isaiah Katumwa’s recent performance at the Kigali Jazz Junction further cemented his dominance of the region’s jazz scene.
For close to two hours, Katumwa entertained the audience with original compositions such as All Year Summer, Mama Africa, Like You, What is Love? off his past albums.
As a performer, Katumwa could not have asked for a better audience, as the crowd was on its feet dancing throughout the show.
He said of the performance: “The fact that I have been in Kigali for several private gigs is evidence of how jazz is appreciated here.”
The Kigali Jazz Junction, hosted at the Kigali Serena hotel, was held on November 3. Katumwa introduced his son Mitchell Katumwa, 14, a pianist and vocalist, who performed a song much to the delight of the audience.
“This has been a real taste of jazz, a rare genre in our local entertainment scene,” said Mutabazi, a businessman who attended the event.
Katumwa has been cautious about crafting an East African jazz sound.
“There are many young jazz artistes and the industry is growing, yet if the people don’t understand it, there will be no audience to play for,” he said adding, “Listening to Hugh Masekela playing African jazz, you still distinguish a unique South African element.”
Katumwa’s sound is Afro Smooth Jazz, a combination of African inspirational sounds, with a gospel element. But he also infuses elements of zouk and Lingala, which gets people dancing.
Last year, he released This is Me, an eleven-track album with music in English, Luganda, Kiswahili and Lingala.