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Int. Jazz Day 2024 concert goes well at +233
Bruce Harris(middle) presenting a cornet to Elvis Obese. On the right is Korkor Amarteifio of Ghana Jazz Foundation

Int. Jazz Day 2024 concert goes well at +233

The smiles that beamed across the faces of patrons at the +233 Jazz Bar & Grill at North Ridge in Accra on Tuesday, April 30 indicated only one thing: their delight at being part of this year’s celebration of International Jazz Day.


American musicians, trumpeter Bruce Harris and singer Jackie Ribas were the guest players on the night with support from the GHJazz Collective.

 As had been happening for over a decade, the +233 Jazz Bar & Grill, this time in collaboration with the Ghana Jazz Foundation (GJF), laid on the bash to mark the day set aside by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2011 to uphold the uniqueness of Jazz to bring people from different walks of life together.

 Pushing for Excellence

 Madam Korkor Amarteifio, a Director of the GJF said before the music started rolling, that the outfit was keen to bring together different components of the Jazz community in Ghana, including venue owners and promoters, fans and schools as a way of pushing for excellence on Jazz front here.  

 She had barely left the stage when the GHJazz Collective and Bruce Harris lunged into ‘Bachinsky’, an uptempo instrumental composed by Thomas Dobler, a jazz/classical percussionist and professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique (HEMU) in Switzerland.

Bruce Harris(left) and Bernard Ayisa of the GHJazz Collective

Dobler plays with the GHJazz Collective whenever in Ghana and the band knows the song inside out. Together with Harris, they pleasantly ‘re-invented’ it for the audience. 

 Percussionist Nii Barnor was the standout player when Harris and the band presented ‘Ghana’, a tasteful blend of Jazz, Highlife, Afrobeat and Latin vibes written by American composer, trumpeter and scholar, Donald Byrd.

 It was a feisty track solidly held down by bassist Gaddiel Amoah for everyone else on stage with him to fly high on their instruments. Nii Barnor extracted a masterful show of dexterity from his drums that got many in the audience to clap along at some point.

 The Drummers Here

 Harris was so impressed with Nii Barnor solo that he said: “One thing I have learned here, performing for the second time in Ghana, is that you have to work really hard to outshine the drummers out here. You can’t mess with the drummers here.”

 Victor Dey Jnr’s Highlife-tainted ‘Lil Miss Danielle’ then occupied the band until singer Jackie Ribas stepped on stage with her likeable, loveable personality. She kicked off with a laid back, re-arranged version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I love You.’

 She didn’t do any show-offy things with her voice. She seemed to understand that what matters in Jazz is to have one’s own voice or approach, even if handling someone else’s material. She did just that with the Stevie Wonder tune as well with Rufus & Chaka Khan’s ‘Sweet Thing’, and ‘Say a Little Prayer,’ made popular by Aretha Franklin.


 Jackie Ribas showed different dimensions of herself through the material she presented on the night. She did some scat singing and infused some Latin things when she returned for her second set. In all cases, she kept her naturalness and the +233 patrons loved her. It felt some of them won’t mind having her back here again soon.

Jackie Ribas

 Bruce Harris presented a cornet to trumpeter Elvis Obese, a music student at the University of Education, Winneba and part of the first batch of students trained at the Accra Jazz Academy founded by the GJF and Thomas Dobler Music.

 Harris told Obese he would give him lessons which should be passed on to other young players for good musicianship to flow from generation to generation.

 It was on the whole, a relaxing evening of delightful music which had started with cocktails and finger foods for guests.  It was a full house of discerning music lovers who got their fill of the styles they appreciate.

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