This year, to assist in securing the future of Jazz in Ghana and discovering new Jazz talents, all members of the Jazz community, Miles Davis enthusiasts & music lovers are invited to the Miles Davis Tribute Competition Ghana 2023. The event is happening on Friday, June 2, 2023 at 7pm at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra.
It is an expression of Miles Davis Music and influence with American Jazz, Afro, Latin genres and vocals performed by an 8-piece band. The event is expected to draw attendance from both Ghanaians and the international/diplomatic communities.
There will be special appearances from Ghana’s Senior Trumpeter Mr. Osei Tutu and Mr. Delim Jamar from the USA – a Miles Davis enthusiast & former Trumpeter. Mr. Delim will also give a special citation-tribute performance on the life and achievements of Miles Davis.
Both musicians will act as judges for the event, along with Dr. Joe Annan – a Miles Davis enthusiast and former Deputy. Minister for Education, Ghana. Also making contributions are Keepin Jazz Alive Partners (Facebook private group).
From musician’s support, education and performance to discovering new Jazz talents and securing the future of Jazz in Ghana, the Miles Davis Tribute Competition Ghana 2023 – in honour of legendary American trumpeter and composer, Miles Davis – is a welcome idea that deserves maximum support and encouragement from corporate bodies and stakeholders within Ghana ‘s growing Jazz community.
For the most part, it has been a solo effort of one very determined lady and professional Jazz musician, Yomi Sower, Host & Founder of Maximum Jazz Radio show & events.
Born Miles Dewey Davis III, he was born 97 years ago, on May 26, 1926. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of Jazz. He adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz. He died on September 28, 1991.
The first Miles Davis Tribute Competition took place May 26, 2020, Davis’ birthday, during the Covid pandemic/ Lockdown era. As the restrictions on social gathering and entertainment gigs took its toll on musicians, a concerned Yomi Sower decided to use the event to support musicians whose means of livelihood was being adversely affected by the Covid pandemic.
After putting word out to musicians, those who came forward gathered together for over two hours of performance of Miles Davis Compositions. The attractions to the event were prize money winnings for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners and performance fees for the supporting band. These prize money winnings were donated by few members of the Ghanaian Jazz community. Trombonist Bernard Gyamfi emerged 1st place winner that year.
The venue/platform for the event was on a live radio broadcast of Maximum Jazz with Yomi Sower, then airing from the studios of Radio Univers 105.7FM
There were three judges for the event – Dr. Joe Annan, Miles Davis enthusiast and former Deputy Minister for Education; a music producer from Netherlands; and A Virtuoso Trumpeter from South Africa.
Besides financial support/monetary compensations, what did the musicians take from the event? An education, improved musical skills, discipline and a deeper Jazz orientation, for indeed Miles Davis’ Music is not for the fainthearted; no musician practises/plays Miles’ tunes and remains the same.
With each year the importance of having a repeat event became more apparent. In 2021 – a year after the first edition, Yomi Sower came to the realisation that many musicians had different definitions for the genre called ‘Jazz’.
A lot believed Jazz to be any music accompanied by a Saxophone or horn. This meant that there was a need for a re-orientation about Jazz. That year and henceforth, other musical instruments like strings- guitar and violin were included into the tribute competition to perform/compete with Miles’ music.
In 2022, it was discovered that the chief reason many musicians shy away from Jazz was due to the lack of venues to perform Jazz. Since the few existing venues that featured Jazz would only feature the elite Jazz musicians, there was no motivation for other musicians to study and practice Jazz music. That year, Yomi Sower embarked on soliciting with several venues to begin featuring regular Jazz entertainment, styled as ‘social meet-up events’.
Some of those venues included Paloma Hotel, The Mix Restaurant, Spadana Restaurant of Osu, … Eventually, a few of these venues hosted Miles Davis Tributes in honour of the legend.
In 2023 the burden for the Miles Davis Tribute Competition came when Yomi Sower realised that it was the same Jazz musicians that she had interviewed in 2012 on her Maximum Jazz radio programme that she would still be interviewing in 2023 – 11 years after.
Were there no new Jazz musicians to emerge in Ghana in the last 11 years or so? She asks… Surely a scenario like this cannot be described as lots of progress for Jazz in Ghana. Much needs to be done to secure the future of Jazz in Ghana. It requires a collective effort of members of the Jazz community, education, corporate sponsorship, financial support, marketing strategy, more venues to feature Jazz music and the media space to broadcast regular Jazz programmes.
To make reservations, sponsor or partner with the event, you may contact 0553699810, 0261889221 or [email protected]