Press Reviews

The Newtimes Kigali Rwanda “Katumwa is easily the regions finest sax maestro and, beyond that, is credited for popularising the hitherto unpalatable genre in the mass music market in the east african region. He has also given rise to a new crop of sax players, inspired by his story and his exploits as a largely self-taught saxophonist.” The NewTimes October 03,2016 By Moses Opobo Radio interview Talking Smooth Jazz Interviews Saxophonist Isaiah Katumwa about his new Cd “This Is Me” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/talking-smooth-jazz/2016/11/05/saxophonist-isaiah-katumwa Saturday 5th, November, 2016
“An accomplished, self-taught saxophonist, Isaiah is credited for putting jazz on the East African map and putting East African jazz on the world map” http://www.ta-emags.com/V1/KQ/M129/ Issue 129 (November-December 2016) Page 46-49
Jazz maestro Isaiah Katumwa is hoisting the Ugandan flag high on the international music scene. The musician who describes his music as “African, Smooth and Divine” has topped a Jazz music countdown on a top online radio in California, USA called “Smooth 97 The Oasis”. The elated singer could not hide his joy as he revealed on Friday that he has topped the “Top 10 Indie Artists Chart” for four weeks. He said, “At Number one last week, its humbling to be on the Top 10 Indie Artists Chart on Smooth 97 The Oasis Radio in California for 4 weeks now. I am forever grateful to you my fans and friends for your love, prayers and support- our music is now playing in Berlin, USA, Europe, Portugal, etc. Lets keep pushing and pushing… as I always say even the Best can be made Better, we can be better than we are now.” “Smooth 97 The Oasis” is an Internet Only Radio Station that plays the perfect blend of Smooth Jazz and some Adult Contemporary Music. SOURCE: http://bigeye.ug/isaiah-katumwa-tops-jazz-music-charts-usa/ 
Isaiah Katumwa celebrates his CEO GLOBAL TITANS AWARDS (2016) Nomination which is an all Africa Prestigious award body based in South Africa. The Titans – Building Nations Awards process aims to recognise the top achievers in business, great leaders in government, entrepreneurs and civil society activists. This 12 month recognition programme is designed to uplift, celebrate and recognise men and their achievements. They provide a platform that each nominee can use to celebrate their achievements amongst their continental counterparts. “There is no doubt that men advancing to the various stages of this programme are those who have impacted the lives of many! The Awards recognise the influence of men across a range of sectors as well as their communities.” They are a combination of different disciplines like politics, arts and culture, Business Cooperates and CEO’s etc . Currently at the finalists level, He hopes he wins the award. http://www.titans-building-nations.co.za/#!about-us/cyjn
When you talk of jazz to most people they think you are slowly losing it but what is surprising is that there are a lot of Africans who listen to jazz now more than before. Be it in high end bars and restaurants or in concerts. Did you know that jazz actually originated from right here in Africa and propagated mostly by those who were taken into slavery? It is more like Negro spirituals with more emotion manifesting itself in the major and minor notes. This way, jazz has woven itself into the lives of those who it surrounds. The Pan-African spirit, through jazz, has spread across the world and more whites are indulging in it and giving us a run for our money. Literally and otherwise. For a while now Safaricom has been promoting the jazz spirit in Kenya by hosting legendary jazz artistes who have been taking their audience by storm every single time like it is the first time. Afro-jazz has its roots in South Africa where evidently most of the legendary artistes originate. Here is a list of the top 5 African jazz artistes who through time, have been given global accolades. The list is not in any particular order because they are all masters in their own right. Jonathan Butler: Butler is a renowned musician and songwriter who started early at the age of seven. He started off with his brothers and sang from one band to the next until he eventually formed his own and dubbed it ‘The Butler’. He rocks the Rhythm guitar among other instruments and since the apartheid in the 60’s, he has been a prolific jazz artiste with accolades from the world over. He recently graced the Safaricom Jazz Festival in Kenya and the crowd was nothing short of grateful. He can do more than sing and play musical instruments and has inspired more to join the jazz bandwagon and even more to fall in love with the genre at first listen. Hugh Masekela: Hugh Masekela can be easily proclaimed the father of jazz in South Africa and also the icon of the Pan-African movement though his music. He went to exile in the USA where he joined Manhattan School of Music. His passion led him to meet highly profiled jazz artiste Louis Armstrong. Hugh attributes his success to his father, Trevor Huddleston, who made him learn an instrument at 14 and built up his career since then. Now, he is a flugelhornist, trumpeter, song writer and singer and even at 77, he still rocks hard with the highlight of his career being his opening act for the World Cup in 2010 in Soweto’s Soccer City. This jazz maestro has over 40 albums to his name through his over 5 decade long career. Kunle Ayo: <imgclass="img-responsive" src="/images/KunleAyo.jpg" alt="" /> While most Nigerians delve into dancehall and afro pop, Kunle Ayo has immersed himself deep into jazz owing to his 7 year long sojourn in South Africa. He has his crowd…
After several years of waiting, fans of Ugandan jazz musician Isaiah Katumwa are rejoicing at news of a new album, This Is Me. According to the artist the album will be launched in Los Angeles, USA on Friday 15 April. Katumwa last released an album in 2011, the 14-track African Smoothie. Speaking recently to Music In Africa, Katumwa explained that as a self-taught saxophonist and an independent artist he depends on his passion and the constant pursuit for excellence and originality - that’s why it has taken him seven years to put together this album, which is his tenth. “As an artist it takes time and resources to put out new work," he said. "I feel I have nearly got them together and now I can say ‘this is me’, as I improve my craft day by day. Arrangements are underway but for now I can only confirm that the release party will be in Los Angeles, California on 15 April 2016." With titles in Swahili and English, the 10-track This Is Me opens with the song 'Pamoja' (together) and also includes a bonus track, 'Special Feelings'. The artist notes that the new album is a genuine expression of African smooth jazz, encompassing his African personality, smooth jazz influences and the theme of love. "I am playing music I hear within me, not being afraid to be myself. I think of myself as an artist and therefore a creator. I don’t just have to create a song but I can also create a style - and in this album I have expressed it best so far." Even though he has been on the music scene for more than 20 years, Katumwa broke onto the international scene at a time when jazz in Uganda (and in East Africa in general) did not have a significant following. At the time, a solo performance or recording by an instrumentalist was unheard of in the region. In 2006, he released the breakthrough album Sinza, the title track of which earned him widespread national and international recognition. Today jazz is on the rise in Uganda and there are more and more artists emerging who pursue this kind of music. Regarded as a pioneer of Ugandan jazz, Katumwa acknowledges that his musical boldness and his success so far has contributed towards influencing young artists (and fans) to take an active interest in the genre. His TV show, ‘Jazz with Isaiah’, broadcast on Uganda’s Urban TV, has contributed significantly to the growing appreciation of jazz in his country. He has hosted the show since 2011. He is also part of the new radio station 106.1 Jazz FM, hosting ‘The Isaiah Katumwa Show’, where he plays songs by the world’s most renowned jazz artists, as requested by listeners. Besides hosting radio and TV shows focused on promoting jazz in Uganda, Katumwa has since 2014 run the Talanta Music Mentorship Program, where he mentors young people from different parts of Uganda, who live together while learning and practising both…
Let’s be honest guys, who is better than Isaiah musically speaking here in Uganda.I mean real music not this horse crap we hear every day on so many respected music radio stations. Behold, the lad has served us finally with an amazing album you must listen to if you have been his fan for the last seven years. The album which is titled “This is me” is available online and being distributed by agents all over Kampala.We are proud of you Isaiah, Keep jazzing SOURCE: New Vision Sunday 23rd March 2016
Everyone is familiar with Hugh Masekela’s “Market Place” song and they waited for it, they really waited for it and wanted to watch him perform it. So why Hugh Masekela never performed it at the “Jazz It With Airtel” concert Friday evening at Kampala Serena Hotel, will only be a secret he knows.When he finished his performance, the crowd demanded for more from him, but he was done and was leaving the stage.His was no trick like Billy Ocean to perform a popular song last after a revelers’ roaring encore, he was done. All the same, he and Isaiah Katumwa delivered an exceptional performance.Katumwa was first on stage, clad in yellow and black pant. Clutching his soprano saxophone, he started off his performance with some of his new numbers like “Amaaso” and “Nakupenda.”Of course, the crowds weren’t really familiar with the tunes but they were impeccable and intensely emotive as he shifted between using his soprano and alto saxophones.Kenyan born Oscar award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o graced the eventThen he spared some time during his performance for his 12-year-old son Mitchel Katumwa to play. He is a kid with a promise and deserved a wild applause he received for his performance on piano.Masekela joined Katumwa as he performed “Maama Africa” and the two would give their performance a balanced thread of substance and style on all the songs they did. The 76-year-old’s scat singing and slinky flugelhorn on his African-flavoured songs like “She Got,” “Khawuleza” “Mandela” and “Stimela” had everyone, including Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, revved up.The concert that ended at 11:00pm, sponsored by Airtel, Pepsi, International University of East Africa and others, also celebrated Katumwa’s 20-year-music career. After Masekela was done with his performance, Katuwma sealed off the night with the crowds’ favourite “My Joy.” Source: New Vision May 09 2015
At a jungle themed Serena auditorium, the stage had been set for the year’s Jazz concert as well as the celebration of a maestro’s twenty years in the music industry powered by Airtel. The sold-out concert that attracted the city’s elite, was highlighted by two Kings of the African Jazz movement; Uganda’s Jazz Maestro Isaiah Katumwa and South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. After having promised a sensational and memorable performance, Isaiah Katumwa delivered exactly that. He came onto the stage and the crowd immediately got into rhythm to the melodies of his Saxophone. Playing songs from some of his past albums such as African Smoothy, Celebrate Africa, Coming Home and We Three Kings, he unveiled the true beauty of Jazz music. Sensational female saxophonist, Moroots was also among the performers. In an electric performance alongside Isaiah, she showed how Jazz music has grown in Uganda. The audience was later treated to a Hugh Masekela performance they will forever remember. With songs from some of his albums like; Phola, Revival, Still Grazing and Playing at Work, he served the best of Jazz performances to ever come to town. He later had a combined performance with Isaiah where they showcased some of their latest collaborations. Among the attendees were; Prestigious HiPipo Music Awards reigning Artist of the year ‘Bebe Cool’, Juliana Kanyomozi, Iryn Namubiru, Lupita Nyongo, Maria Kiwanuka, Olara Otunnu, Bob Kabonero, Mondo Kagonyero, Myko Ouma among others. Airtel Uganda Marketing Director, Mr. Prasoon Lal who was in attendance had this to say; “We are happy to have been part of such a great show. We hope we can continue working with musicians to build the music industry in the country.” Source: HiPipo
It took jazz maestro Isaiah Katumwa about three hours to blow the roof off Serena Hotel's Victoria Hall on July 20. I sat in the capacity-packed hall amongst ministers, top business people, men and women young and old, including uniform-clad teenagers from Nabisunsa Girls' School, and found it hard to believe that one guy with a saxophone had the crowd so completely captivated. The most excited ones were perhaps Information and National Guidance Minister Mary Karoro Okurut and Parliament's Public Relations Manager Hellen Kaweesa, who danced and sang along non-stop through three hours of a performance that spanned through favourites old and new, including greats by Elly Wamala and Mariam Makeba. The house came down, when Katumwa was joined by Maurice Kirya and Myk Ouma, both on their guitars. The house was full by 7.30pm, a surprise since the economic down-turn is said to have left most Ugandans broke and the Shs 100,000 entry fee is enough fuel for a week. But one reveler said she would have paid a million not to miss the night. I never thought I could a concert – moreover a jazz concert – so much and I fully support Katumwa’s ongoing tour of schools to encourage teenagers to nurture their talents Source: THE INDEPENDENT 
Uganda’s Jazz and saxophone maestro Isaiah Katumwa could not have celebrated his 20 years in the music industry any better. He put up an electric performance that left revelers yearning for more at his Jazz Concert. The concert kicked off with a brief performance from Talanta group, mentored by the man of the evening Isaiah Katumwa, to warm up the audience that was still settling in at the Serena Victoria hall and also welcome Katumwa onto the stage. When Isaiah stepped on stage, the audience went wild with cheers. Clad in a yellow shirt and black pants with a saxophone anchored in his hands, he proceeded to serenade the audience with his music. Mid his performance, he invited his 12-year-old son Mitchel Katumwa onto the stage that wowed the revelers with his mastery of the piano, receiving a well-deserved applause from the audience after his act. Hugh Masekela joined Isaiah Katumwa as he performed “Maama Africa”, and the two went on to thrill the audience. Masekela is not just good with his trumpet but a very good performer too. He effortlessly got the crowd onto their feet and dancing to his tunes. His African-flavoured songs like “She Got”, “Khawuleza”,“Mandela” and “Coal Train” had everyone revved up. When Isaiah finally stepped off stage, the crowd that was visibly still having a great time could not believe the show had finally come to an end as portrayed in their reluctance to leave their seats Source BIG EYE
SAXOPHONIST Isaiah Katumwa's stardom is no longer doubtable, following his successful concert, Sensational Jazz,' which he staged at the Kampala Serena Hotel last Friday courtesy of MTN. Read the full story below or see /download the press clip below In spite of the sh70,000 entry fee, Katumwa's fans turned up massively for the show. To Katumwa, this was a manifestation of his fans' immense love. In response, he gave them quality jazz music. During the concert, Katumwa came off as an innovative artiste, with a passion to elevate jazz and to add the local flavour to it. Backed by a 20-member ensemble, Katumwa reached out to his audience as he played African folk songs, modern African pop songs, western pop songs and popular Gospel choruses. When playing secular dance songs, he grooved rhythmically. And as he played the Gospel choruses, he took up soulful postures. He made his concert more interesting by involving his audience. He would explain to them the songs he thought they did not know. For the songs they knew, he asked for their participation. The songs which excited his fans most included Amata, Kitaffe Ali Mu Ggulu, My own, Coming home, What you do, Bamuyita Yesu, Nina Omukwano, Namilele, Nsinza, Nsiima and the afro-beat Africa, which provoked everybody into dance. The fusion of European instruments (like the guitars and keyboards) and African musical instruments like the tube-fiddle also thrilled Katumwa's fans while also depicting his creativity and artistry. Ensemble members Michael Ouma (guitar), Ronnie Nsereko (key board) and Isaac Zzimbe (percussion) also shone during the show. Addressing his fans, Katumwa said he wanted to promote excellence in local jazz music. SOURCE The New Vision August 21-2008 http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/9/507/645580
The lights dimmed as the curtains peeled off smoky, rainbow lit stage hosting the Isaiah Katumwa Live Band. About 1,500 ardent fans of Sax Wizard Isaiah Katumwa eagerly waited in the Serena Conference hall. Read the full story in the press clip below or click here to download it
Isaiah Katumwa studied Sound Engineering, but his love for the saxophone prompted him to ditch his profession for his true calling. doing jazz music. He spoke to Moses Opobo. Read the full story in the press clip below or click here to download it
Isaiah Katumwa could have become a street kid, but he chose to join his mother in the village to dig for a year in preparation for him to go back to school, in-case their crops sold at a good price. Read the full story in the press clip below or click here to download it.
He is knows as Uganda's leading Jazz Artiste, but some have doubted that status, claiming he is merely an instrumentalist who has benefited from the ignorance of many about jazz. I sat with him and we talked jazz. Please read the full interview in the press clip below or you can click here to download it.
sound by Jbgmusic

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