Jazz Invitation aka JI 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 artists such as Miriam Makeba, Kunle Ayo and Randy Crowford amongst others.
The concept of JI was the brainchild 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 moved 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 keyboards. Prudence Katomeni Mbofana was the leading vocalist.
The band released its first album titled Rehearsal Room with tracks such as Ruva Rangu and BP to great acclaim.
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 and Rusike. Contrary to the first album, Tsoka was largely endowed with instrumental songs.
All April long, #enthuse through our 30 Days of Iconic Zimbabwean Jazz series celebrates the heritage and history of jazz music and curates thirty songs by jazz pioneers and contemporary musicians who have successfully taken on the genre and defined a sound for the rest of the world to follow.