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Saturday 3rd October 2015, The 8th Annual Nile Gold Jazz Safari with Kirk Whalum and Karyn White, Ka

Taking out Sunday's Best (photo by Francis Kibirige)

Tony Momrelle, Vanessa Haynes and I flew directly from the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Japan to Uganda for the Nile Gold Jazz Safari. We were booked as part of the band backing the two main artists of the festival, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and Rn'B singer Karyn White. We were joined by singer Vula Malinga, guitarist Tony Remy, percussionist Karl Vanden Bossche, drummer Dexter Hercules and keyboardist Mark Walker who all flew from the UK to meet us. The musical director was Mo Pleasure from the USA who also played keys on the shows. We had some time to rehearse in the evenings (actually from about 11pm into the morning!) a couple of days before and we had about 22 songs ready for the artists before they arrived. The event was fully attended. Although I have been in contact with the festival organiser Tshaka Mayanja since the earliest days of the festival when it began eight years ago, this is the first time I've performed at the festival and my first time in Uganda. Sadly no actual 'safari' took place (!) as there wasn't enough time (apparently we'd need days to go on safari properly). Tshaka tells me that the festival was a huge success with the fans and well praised by the press who were there. The event was fully attended.

Trading with Kirk

Photos by Francis Kibirige

Both Kirk and Karyn's shows were magical. Kirk is an ordained minister as well as being a grammy winning saxophonist and composer. He has an energy about him that is relaxing and positive and his musicianship is of the highest level. It was a pleasure to play songs such as I'll Make Love To You and Sunday's Best with him. Sunday's Best was co-written with the late great bassist Wayman Tisdale so it was a special honour for me to play lead bass on this song alongside Kirk at front of stage.

Tony Momrelle and Karyn duet on Love Saw It

Photos by Francis Kibirige

I was a fan of Karyn White in the early 90's, I had many of her songs on tape back then! She is another fantastic artist who still sounds great and still looks great. She'd retired from the music industry in 1999 but has a new CD out now called Carpe Diem (Seize The Day). The highlights of her show were Superwoman, Love Saw It (a duet performed with Tony Momrelle), The Way You Love Me and Seize The Day. FH

Rehearsal set up: Atelier Z M265 and M245 basses, both strung with D'Orazio Nickel Wounds

Vula selfie!​

​W/Dexter, Vula and Tony Momrelle

​Band w/Kirk from L-R: Tony Remy. Tony Momrelle. Vanessas Haynes, Mo Pleasure, Kirk Whalum, Vula Malinga, Dexter Hercules, Karl Vanden Bossche, myself and Mark Walker

Band w/Karyn

W/Tshaka Mayanja, curator of the Jazz Safari

Kirk Whalum's latest CD

Karyn White's latest CD

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