Saxophonist Isaiah Katumwa is becoming one of Africa’s most thrilling Jazz performers with a genuine breath of fresh air pushing boundaries as composer, recording artist and performer. Even though his playing and artistry has been inspired by African Jazz legends like Hugh Masekela, Manu Dibango and Jonathan Butler as well as Dave Koz and Kirk Whalum, Isaiah expresses his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone.“Isaiah is the kind of breed that I was raised around who go out there and hustle for the music to grow. Looks for musicians, works on the music, teaches people….if we had more musicians like that, music in Africa would change," said the lat Hugh Masekela in an interview with BBC Newsday on 20th June 2017. With no music school, no saxophone shopand no teacher to start him of, Isaiah refused to let these circumstances to dictate his future. This was his mindset as a passionate young teenager in Uganda whose guardian handed him a saxophone, an instrument he had never seen before. His latest album “This Is Me’’is endorsed by Grammy Award Winning Saxophonist Kirk Whalum, has received warm airplays on various international radio stations and was number 1 for four weeks on California’s Smooth 97 The Oasis Charts. This self-taught saxophonis has stood side by side on stage with global icons like Jonathan Butler, Hugh Masekela, Jimmy Dludlu, Manu Dibango, Seweto Kinchy, among others. He is Uganda’s jazz pioneer who has converted many into jazz enthusiast making it a genre whose followers and player are now growing dramatically in Uganda and East Africa.
Isaiah is the founder and host of one of Uganda’s biggest annual jazz events. Every April since 2007 the occasion brings 1500 music lovers to Kampala City from across East Africa featuring the likes of the Late Hugh Masekela and Manu Dibango. Isaiah is also the founder of Beyond Music Foundation/Isaiah Katumwa Foundation a Non Profit that mentors, funds and inspires young people from Uganda using his story and music. The organisation has taken several less privileged though talented young people through school and plans are underwa to provide musical instruments and make teaching programs more accessible. Isaiah is the creator and TV host of JAZZ WITH ISAIAH which has been airing in Uganda since 2011 and is intended to mainly educate and expose the Ugandan audience to Jazz as well as introducing both local and international players. He has hosted Kirk Whalum, Oliver Mutukudzi, and Hugh Masekela to mention a few.
Isaiah’s interpretation in many ways is his own. He blends his African rhythms to his original sweet melodies and tone skillfully birthing a very special smooth yet accessible fusion full of surprises. He has released 11 albums since 2001 and is currently working on his upcoming, NEW DAY.
Isaiah is married to Sheila and they are blessed with two sons, Mitchell and Israel.