The Ghana Jazz Foundation (GJF) is a non-profit organization that was established in Accra with the goal of promoting live jazz music and other regional art forms through partnerships, educational initiatives, and assistance for musicians and live music venues.
It took place on January 6, 2024, as a part of the events held at the +233 Jazz Bar & Grill for the inaugural Jazz In January Festival. The event took place between January 4 and January 7.
Dr. Adrian Oddoye, the President of the Foundation, states that it was established in 2023 as a partnership between jazz musicians and enthusiasts, with the goal of providing a novel perspective on how resources may be pooled to improve the live music landscape in Accra and throughout Ghana.
According to him, the GJF is dedicated to utilizing creative and calculated approaches to link local talent with the African Diaspora and international sister institutions. Furthermore, it would benefit local musicians’ welfare, insurance, and inventiveness in addition to enhancing their performances.
Founding member of the GJF and saxophonist Bernard Ayisa of the GHJazz Collective expressed gratitude to Dr. Oddoye for his tireless efforts in launching the organization. He noted that encouraging music literacy in Ghana was one of the Foundation’s main goals.
The shortage facing our nation is the absence of music literacy among musicians. Therefore, as Ayisa noted, “we want to help promote music literacy and eventually establish a center where people could come and study jazz and other forms of popular music.”
Victor Dey Jr., the pianist for the GHJazz Collective and another founding member, supported Ayisa’s claims. He disclosed that he had been providing some bright young people who couldn’t afford to pay him with free lessons. But he believed that a select few individuals who knew him personally did not necessarily need to be in that kind of circumstance.
“I thought it would be unjust to squander their abilities. I teach them for free because of this. In order for artists to more easily comprehend how music functions and improve both themselves and the rest of us, I’m striving to modify established ideas and structures for the Ghanaian market.
The Musician’s Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), whose president, Bessa Simons, praised the activities at the opening, seems to align with the Foundation’s goals. According to him, the GJF’s goals will assist raise the caliber of music performed here and facilitate greater networking opportunities for Ghanaian musicians.
Katja Lasseur, a Dutch diplomat, is the other original member of GJF. The group gave Esther Nyamekye Kisseh, a music student at the University of Education at Winneba, an alto saxophone that Remy Veerman of Remy Saxophone Repair Shop in the Netherlands had provided.
The GHJazz Collective, Myrna Clayton, Native Vibe, Kevin Flournoy with Lamont Dozier, and Jeff Kashiwa were the headliners of the Jazz In January Festival.