For three days, April 30 to May 2, at the Freedom Park, Lagos, one of the leading cultural hotspots in the Lagos megacity, the Inspiro Productions organized the 3rd edition of the Lagos International Jazz festival 2015.
This year’s edition was significant as it started on April 30 the International Jazz day which climaxed the April long Jazz Appreciation month and all were recognized and celebrated.
According to the festival director and founder, Mr. Ayoola Sadare, the 2015 edition was symbolic in many ways as it marked 10 years since he journeyed to South Africa to seek Rashid Lombard the founder of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival Tagged ‘ Africa’s Grandest Gathering’ to help establish a similar successful Jazz festival in Lagos and to help integrate the megacity into the global jazz tourism circuit.
Also this was when and where Sadare met Lekan Babalola the 2 time Nigeria International Master percussionist Grammy winner, who happened to be the headline act at this year’s edition alongside Herbert Kunle Ajayi, Daniel Isele, Biodun Batik, Prince Eji Oyewole, Jimi Solanke and other celebrated musicians.
Before the event proper, to celebrate the Jazz Appreciation Month, a few of the musicians performed at several venues in the city including Bogobiri and the Jazzhole so the momentum had already built up and expectations high as the actual festival itself kicked off. The 1st day of the event started on April 30 International Jazz Day with a film show facilitated by the American Embassy Lagos titled ‘Legends Of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis’ next was the International Jazz Day Lecture delivered by Rashid Lombard titled; ‘Jazz festivals as a driver for tourism and economic growth,’ and veteran broadcaster and Jazz critic Benson Idonije also gave a paper titled; ‘The power and essence of Jazz – Fela as case study’.
Ayoola Sadare shared his journey into the world of Jazz from 2005 till date. Later in the day a cocktail was held in honour of the Jazz impresario and special guest of honour that had music lovers and others dignitaries, friends and well wishers in attendance.
While the cocktail was ongoing performances were also happening at the venue with people like HKA, Nesta, Aduke, Adeh, Ini the Minstrel and others opening the show on the various stages of the festival namely the Fela Kuti, Steve Rhodes, Rolling Dollar, Bala Miller and Osita Osadebe Stages and people milling around from stage to stage enjoy the various acts performing.
Day 2 and 3 of the festival had more of the largely Nigerian musicians who play a blend of Jazz and Jazz related music both accomplished and upcoming including Imole Afrika, Wole Jesutomi, Samson Iroko, Tosin Paul, Seun Stics, Daniel Bankole, Bimbola, Kingsley Etuk, Femi Slide, Tayo Conga, Wisdom Justine, Oba, Phebean, Survival Band and The MTN project fame season 7 winners to mention a few.
Though corporate sponsorship this year was not as expected, the organizers, however, managed to put together an event of international standard with support coming from a few organizations, including banks, eateries, record labels, marts, and others.
Visible additions to the event this year included the VIP Corporate Hospitality Lounges namely Piano, Trumpet and Sax Lounges with Telecoms giant MTN very prominent in their exclusive Piano Lounge where they entertained their guests whom they invited specially to the event.
The organiser’s also put together a who’s who event brochure containing festival information with the festival website www.lagosjazzfest.com complementing and festival merchandise like t-shirts were also available.
The Lagos International Jazz festival ended on a high note with Bay Lounge Waterfront hosting The Jazzy Aftermath- the After Party at Lekki on Sunday, May 3 with performances by Tarri, Adeh and others. The vision of Sadare, as he stated, is still on course in that in years to come tourists would fly in from all over the world to hear the beautiful sounds of Jazz and indigenous music in the ever bustling Lagos Megacity.