The Safaricom Jazz 2015 makes a comeback over this weekend with an end-of-year segment of the festival billed as the 'Gospel According to Jazz' twin concerts - taking place spread out in Nairobi and Mombasa.

An enticing cast comprised of renowned US-based smooth jazz proponents Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Sheléa Fraizer and Gerald Albright, are slated as the headliner performers. Kenyan acts Afro Sync and Edward Parseen & Different Faces band will curtain raise the concerts at the Carnivore [3rd December] and the Great Lakes - Forest Trails Haller Park [5th December] in Bamburi.

The event takes place in the wake of a high octane Safaricom Jazz Lounge gig, which was staged at Bomas of Kenya amphitheatre and graced by Malian virtuoso Salif Keita - widely hailed as the Golden Voice of Africa.

Prior to his performance at the concert, random murmurs sprang out, on basis that Keita's repertoire inclined more towards Afro-Fusion than jazz.

But this time round, the concert's top billing acts stand out like a miniature who-is-who's on the smooth jazz performing artistes A-List. Whalum's music is often described as being soulful.. passionate and stirringly intense.

The world-renown tenor saxophonist forged his musical roots in gospel roots, building an illustrious career that so far has spawned eleven-time Grammy Awards nominations.

Whalum bagged his first Grammy for Best Gospel Song It's What I Do - featuring Lalah Hathaway and gifted writer Jerry Peters. For Gerald Albright who has performed locally in the past, his musical journey has earned the jazz saxophonist/ multi-instrumentalist over 1,000,000 album copies sold in the U.S.

Notably, both Sheléa Fraizer and Norman Brown are undoubtedly keen to make an enduring impression among local jazz enthusiasts. Whereas she dons multiple hats - songwriter, pianist, arranger, vocalist and producer - Sheléa reportedly blends in her performances, "the sultry energy of Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys' prowess in song-writing and piano chops.."

Her debut album, Love Fell On Me - was described in reviews as being "..a return to the artistry of blending traditional pop, jazz, R&B and soul; this marks an exciting revival of singing and songwriting in a music scene laced with auto-tunes.."

While on stage, Brown is expected to sample tracks off his most recent release titled Sending My Love besides other albums like the gold-certified After the Storm, Just Between Us [1992] and Better Days [1996].


Norman Brown

Kirk Walhum

Afro Sync

Parseen & Different Faces