On Tuesday, the world will come together to celebrate music, World Jazz Day.
In Uganda, the celebrations are held under the banner of Johnnie Walker Jazz Day, an event that is fast becoming an annual festivity, usually headlined by our own Isaiah Katumwa with help from international friends.
In the past, we have witnessed the magic of Hugh Masekela to the relentless Manu Dibango joining the Ugandan in song and while at it celebrating the power of rhythm.
This year, Katumwa will be joined by Beninese songstress Angelique Kidjo and American saxophonist Darren Rahn.
Rahn jetted in earlier in the week for the show, but above it all, to pass on his knowledge and skill in three workshops.
The workshops that involved music lessons, a mentorship programme and donations of musical instruments to young passionate talents saw Rahn speak to young people at Greenhill Academy, Performing Arts Department in Makerere University and musicians at the African Institute of Music in Lubowa.
Rahn is a multi-talented artist, producer and engineer who has become urban jazz’s most sought out artist abroad. He boasts of over 25 number 1 radio singles and multiple Grammy nominations over the past 11 years as an artist.
Talking about his Tuesday performance, the artiste noted that he aims at touching people’s hearts through his performances; “I am excited to be here. I’ve been all over the world, but it’s my first time in Africa. Expect good groove and good music, music that will touch people’s hearts.”
A master level jazz graduate, Rahn has released albums such as Talk of Town, Sonic Boom, Speechless, One Way Back and Once in a Lifetime.
Rahn began working behind the scenes in the mid-90s producing and programming tracks for other artists. It was his early work with Tisdale in 2004 on the single, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now, that would bring Rahn to the forefront of the mainstream music industry; “Until my work with Wayman, I remained pretty much behind the scenes.”
He continued to work in the studio with Tisdale and an assortment of other smooth jazz heavy hitters. These relationships would prove pivotal in the launching of his solo career and enabled him to quickly move from behind the console to the stage.
As an artist, Rahn constantly strives to raise the benchmark in his music. “I want to let the music and playing speak for itself. I want my playing to be timeless to stand the test of time,” said Rahn.
Creating his own sound is equally important.
“The people that are successful really have a distinct sound. They have the ability to maintain a sustainable career,” he said.
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