Keith Sweat makes jazz safari soulful
Posted Monday, October 7 2013 at 00:00
The Nile Gold Jazz Safari has been running for six years and it is one of the most anticipated social events. But with a ticket price of Shs170,000, it is not a show for everyone.
Without the airs that international music stars carry themselves with, Keith Sweat put up a memorable performance at the Nile Gold Jazz and Soul Safari on Friday. It was more than two hours of soul music delivered through great stage presence and good connection with the crowd. Yes, his voice was not as smooth as fine but he tried to give his best. And he was open about it.
“I have been on tour and have already done 12 concerts, in Germany and other parts of the world. I could have rested but I came here to perform in Uganda because they told me Uganda is fine,” he told his fans before going on to perform Make it Last Forever.
At 52, Sweat still has it, the allure, poise and youthful energy. From one end of the stage to another and into the crowd, the inventor of new jack swing had a good time and made sure his audience shared in this moment as he went out to get his fans do sing-alongs to his all-time favourite songs like I’m Ready, Just A Touch of Love, the crowd favourite Make it Last Forever, Nobody and Twisted, among others.
His back-up vocalist Glenn Calandra proved her vocal sprightliness and abilities. “Are you guys having fun?” he kept asking in-between his performance. “I love you Uganda. I am definitely coming back here,” he assured fans.
He did not just sing, he danced too, and the female fans did not hold back. When he came to dance with them, they showed him that they are good dancers too.
Soon, the Victoria auditorium at the Kampala Serena Hotel was almost all on its feet singing, dancing as Sweat brought back the memories past the midnight hour. This “old skool” gem has something infectious about him, in performance and in character.
But the night had more rich talent from the jazz and funk world. Prolific saxophonist Tom Braxton, ingenious trumpet player Michael ‘Patches’ Stewart, passionate drummer John Blackwell and guitar maestro Charlie Singleton shared the stage.
Each of them proved his masterly in their individuality and when they came together, it was a wowing moment, as they put up an exceptional music delivery.
And the titles of their songs was something to muse about, particularly Stewart’s track titled Penetration which got the crowd mumbling and laughing, of course taking the perverted twist to the word.
“Hey guys I know where your minds are going but, I am singing about music penetrating your soul,” Stewart explained.
And Penetration sweetly pierced through the air, souls and definitely hearts of the musical lovers, in a melodic manner. To convince the crowd, he put his lips to the trumpet and delivered the jazzy tune.
He followed this with his rendition of Mary J. Blidge’s No More Tears. The crowd applauded him. “I feel like I am home. I should move here...” an ecstatic Stewart said.
Sweat’s encore was with Silk’s Freaky, an American group he helped form in the mid 1990s. Navio joined him on stage as he did his encore thanks to the night’s emcee Roger Mugisha who asked him to return on stage.