Friday, June 25, 2010



UNKNOWN at home he has mastered fusing funk, soul, rock and afro jazz to critical acclaim on the world music scene – a result of working with numerous acts and influences.

Ugandan born, Kaz Kasozi is an artist who has horned his craft working with musicians and bands of varying styles and genres from around the world including the Osibisa band since the age of sixteen alongside his own solo material and a foray into new media art and experimental film.

Based both in London in the United Kingdom and Kampala, Kaz is a multi-instrumentalist and a producer/arranger who has worked within the UK in the past 21 years. He plays various instruments of which piano, guitar and bass are primary.

In 1998 he released his debut album The Quest a top 10 seller download in the Afropop genre on iTunes and CDbaby; peaking at number 4 in 2005.

His second album Naked and Blue: a story of love and hate was released in 2005 to much acclaim. It was in the top 10 selling Afropop CDs at CDbaby for over 6 months. It includes songs in Luganda and English and crosses styles from funk and soul to afro-ethnic sounds. This genre defying work covers a wide scope in musical styles while maintaining a unified sound.

The album was produced using live instruments with minimal processing to cultivate an organic sound. Kaz's skills as a multi-instrumentalist weave a rich sound canvas, creating a true world fusion work; he plays 11 instruments on this album. The 13-track album has songs like, Ndingi dance, Ombalagadde, Nsaabala, Kati Oze, I do still and Dance away the Pain, among others.

Naked and Blue has been described as "a Ugandan classic and timeless piece..." by Music Uganda and "A gem with very infectious African 'Ethnic-soul'!" by Tw records review (2005). "...hard edged, rock driven afro-funk style, irresistible and unique," by World Music Network (2007).

Kaz has also been described as "the most ground breaking Ugandan musician yet," by CDbaby. His sounds have been likened to Prince, Manu Dibango and Richard Bona.

The song "Nkukyaye" taken off his Naked and Blue album appears on African Rough Guide Compilation released in May 2008. African Street Party is a new compilation album released by World Music Network as part of their Rough Guide series. The album features various African artists and bands with vibrant music.

“I find it frustrating not being known at home maybe because I am based in the UK,” Kaz told The EastAfrica newspaper, quickly adding: “It is not surprising because even some locally based musicians are not appreciated and known at home. I have now decided to come home often for performances, maybe I will be recognised.”

The Jazzmoss album, a collaborative work between poet/singer Louisa Le Marchand (songs and lyrics) and Kaz (music arrangements) was released in 2008 on the Discovery Records label.

His latest album tilted Blue Yonder Tena, yet to be released is a twin album to his previous Naked and Blue; both albums are part of the same project, titled Blue Magma.

In the late 1990s he began to produce work for other artists. To date Kaz has produced and/or arranged music for more than 30 artists and has been credited on over 70 commercial releases. The Ugandan artistes he has produced include Rachel Magoola, Sarah Tshila, Isaiah Katumwa, Essence Kasozi and Maurice Kirya.

He is also one of the co-founders and sponsors of the UgArts organisation established to promote musical talent in Uganda.

Kaz is building a recording a 32-track studio in Kampala that he hopes to open in 2010. Most of the necessary equipment has been shipped from the UK. He says the studio that will be called The Sound Kitchen same as the mobile facility that he operates in London has been delayed due government bureaucracy.

Kaz has worked as a music director for acts performing at prominent London venues such as the Royal National Theatre, the Jazz Cafe, and The Zenith in Paris, among others. He has performed at London African Music Festival, in Japan and the 2009 Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts in Kampala including charity shows.

Kaz believes that people should make music that says something. “Today’s music doesn’t say much. I no longer listen to Ugandan music on radio because ninety percent of this music can’t speak to me, it’s not genuine. There is too much copying and looping. It’s difficult to interpret, and creativity is lacking,” he told The EastAfrican.

Kaz partly blames the corporate world for current state of affairs arguing: “The corporate world has been a disservice to the industry because they prefer to support solo artistes (hip-hop) instead of sticking to certain performances (live bands) to elevate the industry to a higher level.” He however, adds that, “We should make genuine live music otherwise if all that is available is CD music – that is what will be promoted.”

A short African musical film Kyazze Tekizzikayo, directed by Kaz and written by Essence Kasozi based on the Walumbe myths from the Kintu and Nambi legend of the Baganda in Uganda has showed at many festivals.

He co-produced a short film about music on the streets of London in 2006 with Guy Rahamim titled "Footnotes,” - an analytical observation/study of musicians busking on the streets and on the public transport system such as in tube stations and in the trains. The film features popular Israeli singer/songwriter Hadar and her band, among others.

Since 2002 Kaz has been working on his documentary provisionally titled, The Development of Ugandan Music which has been delayed by key players that are yet to accept to participate in the project. The documentary will look at the traditional instruments all the way to modern western instruments, the stars and recording processes as used in Ugandan music production and entertainment.


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