The month of April has become increasingly popular for being advertised as the Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. This type of music, the musicians and museums, libraries, schools and all stakeholders are in focus throughout the month. It culminates on the last day of the month with a United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) initiative-International Jazz Day.
In Nigeria, Inspiro Productions, organisers of the Lagos International Jazz Festival which is in its 10th edition, have sustained a campaign for greater public attention to Nigeria’s jazz heritage through a series of motivational activities on the existing jazz scene, particularly with concerts, radio programmes and other forms of collaborations.
The Ayoola Sadare-led Inspiro Productions has already set the pace for the jazz month, which is also known as JazzApril with a series of JAM sessions tagged ‘Road to Lagos International Jazz Festival 2016’ at venues across Lagos. The events were to publicise the festival happening between April 29 and May 1. Jazz Roundtable Specials on Metro 97.7FM were also held every Sunday in April to support same.
The JAM sessions kicked off on April 1 at Hotel 1960 – Prince of Anthony – Culture Café, Anthony Village Lagos, and it was followed on Friday April 8 at The Pop Up Jazz Lounge Lekki I, Lagos and then the Ayo Bankole Centre For Arts Surulere, Lagos on Saturday, April 15.
The highlights of the event were performances by leading Jazz performers and attendance by enthusiasts and lovers of the genre. Present to perform at the events were Director of SPAN Academy of Jazz and Contemporary music and foremost Jazz musician Bright Gain, Europe based NAIJAZZ guitarist Adedeji Adetayo, classical pianist Ubong Utiah (UB4TY), Sam and the Jazz Apostles featuring Dera, the group Wired, Jazz vocalist Dapo Fasuyi, konkovibrations proponent Niyi Ige, rising Jazz saxophonist Peter Adedeji, trado-soul and jazz singer Empress and a host of others.
Various personalities attended the events and these included top promoter Wale Oluwaleyimu, Emmanuel Odole of Blackdrum TV, Yinka Oni, former chairman National Bank, Demola Ogunfolu, Kunle Ogunneye – Country Director – Mall of Africa, Sean B, Chairman of the Hotel 1960 Group, Akin Adeoya and his lovely wife, Mr. Yemi Akinbode, Jazz Pioneer in Nigeria, Tunde Kuboye of the Jazz 38 and Extended Family Jazz Band fame, Muyiwa Majekodunmi of The Jazzville fame, Austin Aimankhu of Luzol and a host of others. The last JAM session for April took place on Saturday, April 23 at the Shuga Lounge, Hotel 1960 Eagles Park, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Lagos State government led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is marking the International Jazz Day 2016 this year at the Lagos State House, Alausa.
The Lagos International Jazz Festival is Nigeria’s Premier Jazz festival happening over three days. The event has a standard edition happening at the Freedom Park on April 29 and 30 and a Luxury edition at the Bay Lounge Waterfront Lekki on May 1. The lineup of acts for the event include Mike Aremu, Sharp Band, Orliam, Herbert Kunle Ajayi, Skata Vibrations, Seun Olota, Adeh, Akeem Lasisi and a host of others.