The Jazz Accra Repatriation Project has launched at the Coltrane Jazz Club in Adenta.
The new venture is an ambitious multi-stage project that aims to establish a higher international visibility for Ghanaian jazz. This initiative is helmed by internationally-acclaimed jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger, Derrick Gardener.
Avant-garde in nature, this music project is envisioned to establish The Jazz Accra Orchestra, a standard jazz orchestra comprising of top-level Ghanaian and African-American jazz musicians, supplemented with a Ghanaian percussion section and potentially traditional African stringed.
It will also bring about a Jazz Africa Conservatory of Ghana to mentor upcoming musicians in developing the skills necessary to engage them in the art form, and thirdly, put Accra on the map as a jazz destination through international tours and musical collaborations with major ensembles, from orchestras to dance troupes.
For aficionados of jazz music, this project provides a chance to reconnect and pay homage to ancestral routes, as the project embodies the return of not only people who are part of the African diaspora but the art form that keeps African history alive.
Its pioneer describes the project as a compelling pathway to draw musicians and music lovers to Ghana from across the African diaspora.
“As artists from around the globe continue to respond to the call of their ancestral home, Accra is poised to become an international hub of jazz; Jazz Accra is the path to that goal,” Gardener says. “The city is perfectly positioned to become an international jazz capital. It is already a city with a thriving musical culture, and it has established itself as a point of return for the African diaspora which includes some of the world’s most celebrated jazz musicians.”
As Jazz Accra begins to set up the Jazz Africa Conservatory of Ghana, Derrick looks forward to connecting with both local authorities and international bodies to see that the vision comes to fruition. He also noted his intent to collaborate with South Africa’s Music Academy of Gauteng, to learn from their experiences in establishing and growing a community-based music academy.
The launch came off with electric contemporary jazz performances by the Jazz Prophets, from a number of Derrick’s compositions rooted in the spirit and traditions of the African diaspora. The band will hold subsequent performances at various venues including +233 Jazz Bar and Grill till the end of July.