Some say jazz music is dead in Zimbabwe, but the truth of the matter is that the genre is alive and kicking.
The major factor hindering the growth of the genre is the lack of understanding by artists of what jazz is – some say if they are not playing sungura, rhumba or dancehall, they are now afro-jazz artists, which is a lie.
This failure by artists to find their place in music has caused the audiences to shy away from the genre because the end product is very shallow in most cases and nobody wants to pay for mediocrity.
Jazz is a very sweet, scintillating and yet sensitive genre, that requires one to really invest time in learning the chords as well as when and where to apply them when performing or arranging music.
Another challenge is with radio stations in Zimbabwe.
There are very few slots allocated to playing pure jazz music as is the case with dancehall, hip hop, sungura and the trendy Afro-beat.
This minimal airplay has resulted in listeners failing to comprehend the genre of jazz, thus leading to very minute crowds coming to jazz shows and festivals staged in the country.
But regardless of all this, those who know how to play proper jazz music such as The Outfit, Owen Chimuka, Sam Mataure, Filbert Marova, Mono Mukundu amongst many others, keep pushing the genre at the weekly jazzics nights held at Chez Zandi.
On Sunday evening, sensational vocalist, Prudence Katomieni Mbofana dazzled jazz enthusiasts who thronged the Herbert Chitepo joint.
Belting out a mixed bag of compositions by both local and international composers, Prudence proved to the many incredulous Zimbabweans that jazz is indeed alive.
As usual, her vocals left many with goose bumps after she hit those intricate notes that many so wish to sing, but always leave their audiences’ mouths puckered with utter disgust as they would have dismally failed.
The band was also on point, very disciplined, and only dropping solo’s at specific intervals throughout the performance.
Next Sunday the Zimbabwe Jazz Community Trust will be staging another jazzics session, make a date and get jazzed up.