Uganda’s Jazz Pioneer whose innovation has inspired and sensitised many to jazz, this self-taught saxophonist Isaiah Katumwa has converted many into jazz enthusiasts and now a genre whose crowd and players is growing dramatically in Uganda and East Africa at large.
Much has been said and written about Isaiah Katumwa than any other instrumentalist in Uganda where he was born and raised. He has been dubbed the country’s leading jazz artist, the best saxophonist in East and Central Africa, …arguably East Africa’s best jazz artist’, ‘East Africa’s Kenny G’ and ‘Uganda’s sax wizard’. The list is long but one thing is for sure, he is a living treasure to the East and Central African music scene.
In Uganda and generally East Africa, Jazz did not have a significant presence on the music scene. Isaiah’s album Sinza was a breakthrough event in 2006 even featuring on the BBC where he was hosted. He continues in his attempt to challenge and influence the industry for greater quality, skill, creativity and professionalism in not only jazz, but African music. Along with the traditional folk musical background, he has developed a blend of sounds to express his East African identity, smooth jazz influence and Christian passion.
So “it is African, Smooth and Divine”
This canny ability of his fusion and concert performance has led to reviews like:
‘An ability to indigenize this wind instrument in much the same way one would speak English with an East African accent’ BY The Daily Monitor a local new paper.
‘I had to be practically dragged ...... and for someone who was there by mistake, Katumwa`s performance floored me entirely’- BY The Weekly Observer a local news paper.
“The precision and clarity Katumwa brings to the saxophone makes you forget that his repertoire is mostly gospel inspired” BY The Daily Monitor a local news paper.