Fans upbeat as US jazz star to stage shows

American producer, jazz composer and two time Grammy award winner Marcus Miller (pictured) believes that music can change the world from those who learn it, those who create it and those who simply enjoy it.

Speaking after a performance by the Ghetto Classics kids at the Michael Joseph Centre in Nairobi, Miller acknowledged the interest and enthusiasm of the growing initiative that is Safaricom Jazz International Festival well in to its 6th year.

“When you start playing music early on and when you develop as a musician while playing music, it changes. When you start playing music, it’s because you saw an instrument and you said that’s really cool and I would like to play that. But then as you develop, you start getting excited when you see people reacting to your music,” he said as he marveled at the level of the kids expertise.

Miller has been nominated for the Grammy’s sixteen times. That is beside the two times he has won the coveted award. He has played with Bernard Wright, Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Aretha Franklin for the last 30 or so years he has been performing.

In his successful career he has also created film scores for famous movies such as Save the Last Dance 2, I think I love my wife, Think Like a man, Obsessed, among others. This he says has played a huge role in shaping and advancing his career.

“As you get older, you begin to realise how powerful music is and how you can really change the world with music. It sounds crazy because sometimes it feels like you are just playing notes.”

Safaricom International Jazz Festival has evolved into a must attend musical celebration that prides itself in bringing together talented musicians, and has played a huge role in expanding the Kenyan jazz scene.


In past celebrations, they have brought in the crème of jazz from David Sanborn, BWB, Branford Marsalis, Jonathan Butler, Richard Bona, and Dianne Reeves among a horde of other exceptionally talented musicians to perform.

“This (Safaricom Jazz) charity is a continuation of that. It is changing lives here and I will tell you who else lives have changes by doing Safaricom. Every musician that has headlined or been a feature artist have all come back home and said ‘my life is different after having come to Nairobi.’ After his visit here, David Sanborn called me telling me, ‘Marcus, you have to you have to do Safaricom, it’s going to change your life!’”

This year’s jazz festival goes down at Kasarani staduium on Sunday February 17. Proceeds from all ticket sales will be donated to the Ghetto classics music programme, which has been the Safaricom Jazz beneficiary since 2014 and has so far received Sh60 million, funds that have benefitted over 1,500 children from Nairobi and Mombasa. Proceeds from this year’s fete will be extended to Kisumu.