Winter Jazz Festival – first time in New York
By Zuko Komisa
There is a beauty in recounting every first-time experience, especially one as special as attending the celebrated Winter Jazz Festival in New York for the first time. As part of the Kaya FM team attending the Emirates Pursuit of Jazz campaign, I have been both pleasantly surprised and delighted by what has been so far.
You get to understand why New York is referred to as ‘a city that never sleeps’, ‘the big apple’, as well as ‘the best city in the world’. It’s no coincidence that it has become a firm favorite for many bucket lists.
When arriving you get to have an intimate experience with this multi-layered genre that has firm roots in the African-American communities of New Orleans, and continues to evolve to what we know today.
The Winter Jazz Festival began 15 years ago and has showcased over 140 jazz musicians throughout the years. It aims to give a platform to jazz musicians from New York and beyond.
It was also interesting to observe how the festival was proactive in addressing issues affecting the broader jazz community.
This year the experience has become ever more spectacular with an impressive line up of artists performing throughout the city, with the highlights being Meshell Ndegeocello, Arturo O’Farril & Afro-Latin Jazz, Allison Miller, Samora Pinderhughes as well as a concert series called ‘We Resist’ that culminated two years ago addressing critical social justice issues through spoken word.
The Winter Jazz Festival is indeed a unique experience, worthy of praise, memorable in its nature, as you find yourself in midst of jazz musicians who have an admirable lifelong devotion to the genre and humanity.