STORIES BY BY CHUKS NWANNE
Lovers of jazz music are in for another exciting moment, as organisers of the yearly MUSON Festival, have announced a two-day jazz concert on November 6 and 8, at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. According to Agboola Shadare of Inspiro Productions, who is in charge of the jazz concert, the show begins at 7pm on each day, at the Shell Hall, with both home and international artistes on the bill.
Jimmy Dludlu (South Africa)
Long before record companies became aware of the musical genius of Jimmy, the media were already celebrating him as the hottest and most stylist talent amongst South Africa’s new jazz generation. He’s one of the artistes billed to mount MUSON sate for the gig. Jimmy was 13 when he first picked up a cousin’s homemade guitar and taught himself to play by imitating the jazz and African music he heard on the radio.
Over the years, he has worked with various musicians and bands. In 1991, he was a founder of the highly successful group, Loading Zone, which went on tour across the continent, backing a ranhe of South African stars including Hugh Masekela, Marima Makeba, Brenda Fassies, Chicco and Sipho Mabuse. He later recorded with Makeba on the album, Eyes on Tomorrow, and participated in the Sun City production Sax Appeal. During Loading Zone’s Namibian tour in 1992, Papa Wemba asked the band to back him on several dates in the country.
Jimmy’s style includes wide-ranging influences, combining both traditional and modern elements of jazz drawn from others. He is particularly attracted to the sound of West and Central Africa, as well as Latin America, but insists jazz remains his first love.
Biodun Adebiyi (Nigeria)
With a strong church music background, classical music training and a wealth of experience as a jazz improviser, trumpeter Biodun is an artiste worth listening to. From being just a choirboy, he became the assistant organist at St. Pauls Anglican Church, Yemetu, Ibadan. A graduate of music, Biodun later obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism and a Masters in Communication Studies.
A scholar in trumpet from the Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON), he learnt to play trumpet as a member of the Boy’s Brigade, and has since played in many venues and jazz spots in major cities of the continent.
Biodun’s trumpet can be heard on several recordings and television scores. He currently leads his own 12-man Afro Jazz, Biodun & Batik and his album titled, The harmonious Blacksmith, will hit music shelves soon. At present, he lectures at the Theatre and Music Departments of the Lagos State University.
Bright Gain (Nigeria)
Gifted bass player, jazz composer and clinician, Gain has become a force to recon with in the Nigerian jazz scene. He has performed and recorded with numerous artistes such as flutist, Tee Mac, French pianist, Manuk Hanchadrurian, Greek guitaris, Sotiris Papadopoulos, South African pianist, Stix Hojeng and others. As a promoter, Gain has organised jazz programmes such as Jazzmind Jazz Fest, at the MUSON Center, Lagos, in 2004 and Jazzify the Lord with Bright Gain, a quarterly jazz programme.
In 2006, he was awarded the CMA Jazz Artiste of the year and is a music educator committed to impacting music knowledge to beginners and professional alike. He has written many compositions with three Jazz CDs to his credit and his performance have taken him to places such as South Africa, where he taught at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria and recently performed in support of the Gauteng Province/South African police services effort in stopping crime along with other top artistes.
Beautiful Nubia (Nigeria)
His songs of cultural celebration, social upliftment and public enlightenment have greatly influenced thousands of people. Nubia has an uncanny ability to reach back into the past, re-invent ancient rhythms and mesh them with original melodies to produce harmonious sound. The songwriter and bandleader, has evolved a form of music that continues to defy classification and appeals to growing market of both the rich and poor.
In 1997, while pondering how to introduce himself as a musician, Segun Akinlolu decided upon the performance name, beautiful Nubia, to remind young Africans of a time when his likes ruled the world and were masters of the sea, the air and land. His first album, Seven Lifes, followed shortly after and since then, has not looked back.
Mfon Umana (Nigeria)
Popularly known as the Ambassador of African Music, having been named Best Female Vocalist in Dubai, in 2003. Umanna, who doubles as image-maker and singer, is a fast rising musician, who has her eyes on the international market.
Mfon’s music cuts across all ages and nationalities. Her first album, Life, and a new one, Brand New Page are currently making waves in most West African Countries. She not only sings in two major languages, English and French, she also sings in local dialects such as Efik, Fon, Yoruba and Ewe, a dialect in Benin Republic.
Pure and Simple (Nigeria)
A group of two young musicians, a lead guitarist and the Star Quest winning Diamonds member, Ifiok Effang and the other a bass gutarist, Nathan McDonald, expressing themselves in a unique but pure and simple jazz way.
The 5 YZ Men (Nigeria)
This is a group of five young musicians, who are currently pursuing a Diploma in Music at the MUSON Center, Lagos, under a scholarship scheme sponsored by MTN.
The group is made of Imoleayo Balogun (alto and tenor saxophone), Joseph Kunnuji (Trumpet), Oluwatobi Ojetunde (Piano), Olamide Timothy (Bass) and Abiola Oloyede (Drums).
Their repertoire ranges from jazz standards to original compositions, even in African idioms. Though a young band, their stage performances are always a delight to see.