Monday, July 15, 2013

Jazz: Born in America, enjoyed worldwide

The title could refer not only to jazz music but several other things as well.  However we are talking about music today.  Apart from Jazz, America has also given the world blues, hip hop and R&B.  These types of music have a huge following around the world especially among young people.  However most people outside America have only listened to or watched performances of this music on television or radio.  This is where the State Department’s “Jazz Envoy” program comes in.  It takes American musicians to different parts of the world to perform before audiences who would normally not enjoy such or would have to pay a lot to do so.

Over the years the program has brought several U.S. musicians to Nigeria to perform in different parts of the country.  The most recent is the Stephane Wremble Jazz band.  The band led by Stephane includes Roy Williams, Dave Speranza and Nick Anderson.  They spent two weeks in the country giving Nigerians from different walks of life a taste of jazz.  They performed at the Abuja jazz festival, at selected schools and also jammed with Nigerian musicians.

To ensure that not only Abuja residents enjoy this opportunity the group also travelled to Jos were they gave the people of that city a taste of their music.

So what is jazz?  There will most likely be several different definitions of this.  To Stephane Wrembel “Jazz is a state of mind” and their music is impressionist in the sense that they try to take their listeners on a journey.  Within this journey each listener can create his own images and         travel using the vehicle of jazz.  He added that music allows you to express spiritual things in a way that words cannot.

Their visit to Nigeria was crowned with a grand performance at the U.S. Mission July 4th independence Day reception.  They not only played the U.S. national anthem but that of Nigeria as well.  Their performance was the highlight of the event for many guests who stayed way beyond the usual time just to enjoy music from this great group.

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