Sax keeps his jazz dream alive during Covid gloom

Tuesday June 01 2021
Ugandan saxophonist Joseph Kizito aka Joseph Sax.

Ugandan saxophonist Joseph Kizito aka Joseph Sax. PHOTO | COURTESY


Ugandan saxophonist Joseph Kizito aka Joseph Sax loves the horn for its sound, inspiration and his musical expression.

He cherishes the instrument because of its unique sound and inspiration from artistes like Isaiah Katumwa, Moses Matovu, Kenny G and Dave Koz.

Covid-19 has adversely affected the Ugandan culture and creative industry but to Sax the pandemic made him start thinking outside the box and learn more about the business side of music.

“The creative industry has been affected so much, especially that there are limited ways through which artistes can showcase their work to make money and interact with people.”

However, he has not been idle during the Covid lockdown. “I have been working on projects since the lockdown started, my own and also with other artists. Some of them have already been released and others are in the pipeline.”

Sax released his debut album titled Koona in December 2017 in Kampala. Koona is a collection of afro-fusion, reggae, gospel and other genres. His sounds feature in songs that were produced and recorded by several producers.


Koona features local musicians including Mun-G, Bruno-K, Jemimah Sanyu, Myko Ouma, Pages and Shifah Musisi. Koona is slang for dance in Luganda.

The 11-track album was inspired by the title track Koona, which has the element of a dance beat in it. The song featuring Miss Deedan calls everyone to the dance floor.

Friday Night features Pages, he raps about how people have fun on a Friday night.

Life Without You is a soul gospel song originally done by the Shifah Musisi. It is a song that questions what life would be without God in our lives.

Viola is originally done by the Elly Wamala, the late Ugandan legend. “It’s a love song which my mother (Annet Nalumansi) loved a lot. I decided to blow my heart out on this one, adding a bridge plus a modulation at the climax to make sure it comes out perfect.

Describing a little more, he said, “I love reggae and ragga, so I wanted to try out something, having a saxophone sit on the two beats put together with no vocals just instrumental.”

He has worked with several Ugandan musicians. His saxophone sounds can be heard on Anjagala by Iryn Namubiru; Mariana by A Pass; Cheza, Mama by Voltage Music; Bebe Cool's Onepikira and For Better For Worse by Bobi Wine. He has also done various renditions like Valu Valu by Jose Chameleone, and Musaawo by Winnie Nwagi.

“Music is my passion. I loved music since childhood, singing at school and playing in a brass band.”

When asked to describe the type of music he plays, he said, “I am an all-round saxophonist. I am not limited to any genre of music.”

The 30-year-old saxophonist said he’s yet to fix the date when to release his next single Simanyi featuring Myko Ouma and Dre-caly. “We are still shooting the video for the song.”

How he manages to play gospel and secular music he said; “I do inspirational music that speaks to a heart, music that soothes the soul.”

Sax is optimistic that the number of live music instrumentalists in Uganda is growing and believes the audience is now recognising these artistes which wasn’t the case years ago.

He says Uganda has a lot of talent, and the growth of live music instrumentalists is phenomenal.

“Many young people are learning to play instruments, and even parents nowadays send their children to music schools. I believe in a few years Uganda will have a big number of live music instrumentalists.”