Keith Sweat was one of the biggest Soul and Rn’b stars of the 90s. He will headline the annual Nile Gold Jazz Safari this evening. We bring you his story, plus the other concert headliners.
American soul, Rhythm and Blues (Rn’b) star Keith Sweat is slated to headline the Nile Gold Jazz & Soul Safari at Kampala Serena Hotel this evening.
Fans will tonight savour the 52-year-old music star’s old time classics like Twisted, Make It Last Forever, Nobody, Come and Get With Me, on which he features Snoop Dogg alias Snoop Lion, I’ll Give You all My Love and Still in the Game, among other all-time favourites.
This is one of the artistes that has remained relevant and from the crop of singers who sang when music is said to have sounded like music, with melody. He rides high on a career that spans 24 years which has partly won him the title “The genius behind the New Jack Swing”, which he invented with Teddy Riley. His debut, classic album Make It Last Forever sold more than three million copies.
He has recently been in South Africa and in an interview said that his key to staying on top of the music game is being consistent.
“Always try to re-invent yourself. I always try to look at what everyone else is doing along with what I have done and try to come up with new things that won’t take me out of my lane but people still enjoying Keith Sweat. As long as you keep re-inventing yourself from time to time, you can stay in this business,” he explained.
Sweat says he was inspired by Charlie Wilson, The Isley Brothers and Lionel Ritchie from whom he learnt a lot. But he says his music is music that largely talks to a woman. And his lyrics speak volumes on how you can handle your woman and love her right.
“Every man is raised by a woman, so the way you treat your mum is the same way you should treat your woman. I mean it is very important because it is that woman that will raise your children. You have to really love her. Your children will see that and will love you as a man and dad because you know how kids love their mamas,” he advised.
And he says he respects new generation R’nb stars like Chris Brown and Neyo adding that he has learnt a lot from them as they have learnt from him. Some of Sweat’s latest music material is off his 2011 album titled Till The Morning but he says people would like him to perform his classics.
Sweat is known for his distinctive vocal style which partly won him the 1997 award in America Music Awards for Favourite Male R’nB/Soul Artiste. In person Keith Sweat is a composed, cool and friendly chap.
Sweat has also used his skill as a producer and multi-instrumentalist to help others. In 1992 he discovered the group Silk, and helped craft their debut album, Lose Control, and the album’s single Freak Me hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 1, 1993.
In 1993, Sweat discovered the Atlanta based female R’nB group Kut Klose. Sweat also produced the group’s debut album Surrender, which produced the their biggest hit single I Like.
Aside from music he has authored a book titled Make It Last Forever- The Dos and Don’ts, from his break-out hit by the same title. In the book he shares some good relationship advice.
“Relationships, by nature, are not easy. In fact, they are about as difficult to maintain as anything in the world. You know why? Because we are all humans, and with that comes a lot of emotions that influence how we think, what we do, how we react,” he explains.
Catch him share some more lovey-dovey messages tonight through his music as he performs live on stage.
He is a charismatic drummer, remembered as the man behind the funky drum sounds behind music superstar Prince’s fame. His playing techniques of drumstick twirling and cross-over strokes make him stand out from the pack.
Born on September 9, 1973, Blackwell had music all around him. His father John Keneth Blackwell Sr was a professional drummer, who did gigs with legends like Cornelious Crawford, The Drifters, Mary Wells, and The Spinners among others. His mother is Mamie S. Blackwell, a music enthusiast. Blackwell got his first drum set when he was only three years. His father also gave him a record player and a few records he had collected from his playing days and other collections. From then on, love for music became part of Blackwell’s life and he learned to appreciate various bands and musicians among them his favourite groups like Cameo, Prince, The Jacksons, Zapp & Roger, George Clinton and Parliament and Patti Labelle. His father also took him to all the concerts that took place in South Carolina till the time he was 21-years-old.
Blackwell practiced hard through his growing years. When he joined high school, he became a member of the school jazz and marching band and was the automatic choice for the drummer slot. Even at the age of 15, Blackwell’s talent landed him a chance to play with local bands in South Carolina area. These bands were, Robert Newton & Lotus Fete a group that played R’nB, Jazz and Fusion and Billy Eckstine band. He spared time on the weekends to play with these groups. He started playing with Bill Eckstine when he was 17 years old. This was his first professional and paid job as a drummer.
Michael ‘Patches’ Stewart
He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city where Jazz was born. He fell in love with the trumpet at a very young age, but did not have the opportunity to study music until he reached middle school.
It was during his high school years that he acquired the nickname “Patches” from his habit of following the then current fashion trend of wearing patches on blue jeans. At the age of 16 he was offered an opportunity to fill-in during a session, his first time in a recording studio. It turned out to be the horn section session for LaBelle’s international hit Lady Marmalade.
To continue his musical career, Patches moved to Los Angeles. He started to work with The Brothers Johnson. Through this association, he met Quincy Jones, who at that time put The Dude tour together, and included Patches in his band.
In 1983 Patches began touring with another jazz giant Al Jarreau. The cooperation lasted for eight years and led to meeting Marcus Miller, the Grammy winning producer, composer and “bass legend,” responsible for writing hit songs for luminaries such as Miles Davis, David Sanborn and Luther Vandross. Since 1992, Patches has been a regular in Miller’s band. He still maintains a relationship with Marcus Miller on festivals and jazz cruises.
Saxophonist and composer Tom Braxton understands his purpose on earth is to create music that touches our hearts. That’s why Jazz Review calls Braxton, “. . . one of smooth jazz’s most prolific saxophonists . . . with all the required tools to become a major force.”
A seasoned performer, who knows how to charm audiences of all ages, Braxton has his own distinctive and recognisable sound, which incorporates elements of Jazz, Latin, Funk and R’nB and leaves listeners spellbound, filled with a sense of joy as his music swirls through your soul.
Tom Braxton is a versatile instrumentalist, charismatic performer and gifted composer whose distinct, melodic sound thrills audiences of all ages. This native Texan has recorded seven albums including Endless Highway (2009) and Imagine This (2007) on the Pacific Coast Jazz label and Bounce (2005) on the Rendezvous label. His music can be heard on radio and television airwaves nationwide, and his albums have hit numerous jazz charts including Billboard, RadioWave and Amazon.com.
Tom toured extensively with Wayman Tisdale for 17 years, also serving as Musical Director. He has been a featured performer and fan favourite on the Smooth Jazz Cruise since 2005. He has also garnered rave reviews overseas, performing as a headliner for the first Smooth Jazz Europe Festival in the Netherlands and touring with Keiko Matsui in Russia. Braxton has shared the stage with many great artistes including Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Peter White, Candy Dulfer, George Duke, Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Jeff Golub, Norman Brown, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and Phillip Bailey. He has been featured in media and publications such as Jazziz, Smooth Jazz News, CBS’s The Saturday Early Show and Daystar Television Network.
The man behind the show
Tshaka Mayanja has organised and played at all the Jazz Safari shows. He tells us about his musical jounrey and the show.
Briefly tell me about Tshaka Mayanja, the artiste…
I am still a student of music, in most of its forms. As long as it is good music.
You were initially a reggae artiste and promoter, at what point did you branch into jazz?
Well, I am still a reggae artiste. I just decided to learn other genres of music to enlarge my musicality.
What inspired the Nile Gold Jazz Safari?
I have always wanted the idea of festivals. All the reggae music concerts I promoted always had more than two headliners. Through jazz evenings on Radio One, together with Elijah Kitaka we started monthly jazz gatherings at Ange Mystique. It is from these that Jazz Safari was born.
What would you say has been your favourite of the Jazz Safari editions, and why?
Jazz safari 2010 with Gerald Albright and Jonathan Butler. It was a dream playing bass for both artistes, very scary too. We hardly rehearsed as a band, yet we sounded very good. I thank the most high for such moments.
What should people expect tonight?
Four headliners, all on top of their respective games plus fantastic musicians and production. We do our best to improve every year. The sound and lights, plus the video team this year is off the chains.
Keith Sweat is headlining the show tonight, what should his fans expect?
Soul music. He has got that in tonnes. Patches Stewart, Tom Braxton and John Blackwell Project are the other headliners. It will be jazz-funk and soul heaven.
What is Sweat’s reaction…is he excited to be coming in?
He loves touring and performing. He said yes the first time we spoke on phone. That tells you something.
What time is it starting?
At 6pm the gates will be open and the show will be preceeded with a cocktail.
Who is performing and at what time?
The concert starts at 8pm. You have to be there on time.
Venue: Kampala Serena Hotel.
Date: Today, Friday, October 4.
Showtime: Gates open at 6pm with a cocktail and show starts at 8pm.