Jazz Invitation which is popularly known as JI in the music scenes is an outfit with a reputable stature in jazz circles in Zimbabwe formed in 2007. It was dubbed as the country's foremost jazz and life injecting band. The release of the band's first album ushered the ensemble into stardom. The band shared stages with some of the greatest world acclaimed jazz artistes such as Miriam Makeba, Kunle Ayo and Randy Crowford amongst others.
Formation and Growth of the Band
The concept of JI was the brain child of Sam Mataure who was the band's first drummer where he invited musicians to perform at mini festivals, subsequently leading to the formation of a band known as JI.
When the band was officially formed, Mataure relocated to South Africa and Kelly Rusike (of the Rusike Brothers) who was one of the vocalists and a bassist was now leading the band. Victor Duarte was incorporated into the band replacing Mature who was the drummer, Richie Lopez, a saxophone player, Manasa Mujawo and Filbert Marova were on the key boards. Prudence Katomeni Mbofana was the leading vocalist. The band released its first album titled Rehearsal Room with tracks such as Ruva Rangu and BP. The release of the album was a success. The album was marketed in South Africa by Khaya FM. Patience Musa also joined the band becoming another vocalist.
In 2011, the band released its second album titled Tsoka whose songs were composed by Owen Chimuka (who had joined the band later replaced by Bernie Bismarck who was also replaced by Tammy Chirema) and Rusike. Contrary to the first album, Tsoka was largely endowed with instrumental songs.
Band Members Since the Formation of the Band
Kelly and Courtney Rusike, Tammy Chirema, Fungai Nengare, Tina Masawi, Dave Bokeo,Patience Musa, Prudence Katomeni Mbofana, Sam Mataure, Manasa Majawo, Fibert Marova, Victor Duarte, Richie Lopez, Owen Chimuka, Bernie Bismarck.
- Winter Jazz Festival
- Italian Jazz Festival in Italy
- Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)
The band also performed alongside Miriam Makeba, Kunle Ayo, Judith Sephuma, Ringo Mandlingozi, Ernie Smith, Randy Crawford, Hugh Masekela amongst other internationally acclaimed jazz artistes.
- Rehearsal Room
- Ndafunafuna (cover song)