Gogosimo band's James Jozee releases new solo album 'Hatua'

James Jozee performing on stage during the Safaricom Jazz Festival.
James Jozee performing on stage during the Safaricom Jazz Festival held at Carnivore Gardens on May 1, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

Lovers of Afro music will be treated to a night of fun next Friday, October 19, as James Jozee, director of the renowned Afro-smooth band Gogosimo, unveils his latest solo album at Alliance Française in Nairobi.

Backed by his seven-member band, dedicated to soul, jazz and African music, the multi-talented musician of Congolese, French, and Kenyan heritage is set to thrill his fans in an action-packed show that will mark the official inauguration of the 14-track album dubbed Hatua.

In an interview with the BDLife, Jozee said ‘Hatua’— which is Kiswahili for ‘a step ahead’ — is the culmination of two and a half years of a creative excursion that seeks to review his long musical journey.

“Hatua is all about my growth in music; from where I was to where I am now,” Jozee said. “The album is for the young and mature; grown and sexy. It symbolises love, truth, and reality.”

The show, which starts at 6pm till late, will also feature special guests Ken Mwara, Bulaa The Saxophonist, Amos & Josh, Kemunto, Juma Tutu, Fadhilee, Richie Sax, and Jason James aka Alfo.

“The 14-track album is on sale at Tune Core, and copies will be available at the event,” Jozee said, adding that he dedicates ‘‘Hatua’’ to his late mother to whom he promised “an album on love, truth, and reality.”

The album incorporates various instruments such as string orchestration, brass, percussion, electric guitar, classic guitar, kitar, bass guitar, saxophone, keyboard, synthesiser and vocals.

Jozee learnt saxophone from his father Ndongo Amani — a member of the legendary Congolese band Les Noirs that settled in Kenya in the 1970s.

He later picked up the drums and piano before beginning his professional career in Mombasa with a brief spell in the Safari Sounds in the late 90s. Jozee later relocated to Nairobi to start Gogosimo in 2002.

The band plays a rich coastal sound mixed with exquisite western instrumentation and a tasty touch of African beats, creating a recipe of unique East African Sound.

Over the years, Gogosimo has performed at high-profile shows including the Fally Ipupa’s Nairobi tour as well as the Safaricom Jazz festivals. The band performed alongside Koffi Olomide at the Koroga Festival in March 2016. It has previously performed in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.