Memories of a great city before Kampalitis struck

I first set foot in Kampala 50 years ago. An indelible image of early 1966 Kampala is that of what looked like a very tall tree atop a hill, with many red lights, rising towards heaven, with an ominous presence at night, at once frightening and attractive. It was the Uganda Television mast, rising out of […]

Encounters with Classical Music

  Like many people, I first came in contact with classical European music in my early childhood when I started attending church in Uganda. The great choral hymns were my introduction to what I would discover, decades later, to be music that was written down by men like Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Frederic Handel and […]

Jazz and Me

  Jazz and Me I did not appreciate Jazz music until 1978 when I met George Cook, a wonderful African American from Ohio who was the head of the Opportunities Industrialization Centre (OIC) in Maseru, Lesotho. George, a retired US army officer who had been among the last people out of Saigon, infected me with […]

My Kind of Music: Whistle Stop with Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley et al

Thursday October 27, 2016 It started snowing early this morning. First snow of the season. Cold day outside. After a long day at work, what better way to unwind than listening to KENNY DORHAM (trumpet), in the good company of Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Kenny Drew (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums)? […]

Trump’s gift to Africa’s dictators

Donald J. Trump will not accept the results of next month’s US presidential elections unless he wins. His words, not mine.  With increasing evidence that he will lose the election on November 8, Trump has resorted to a familiar refrain favored by anti-democrats.  An election result is only acceptable if it validates one’s claim to […]

Free press crucial for democratization

  The great story of the American presidential election is not the vigorous and level ground competition that is on display. That is a tradition that dates back to 1796 when America held its first contested presidential election. It is not that the various security services of the United States remain non-partisan. Institutional governance and […]

Jinja triplet deaths compounded by news media distortions

It appears that the Monitor report that triplets died last week because the mother had been refused admission to Jinja Regional Referral Hospital was a distortion of the facts. To be sure, I was angry when I read that the staff had refused to admit Ms. Monicah Wokobeire, the triplets’ mother, because they were preparing […]

Bud Powell: Genius of the piano – his music lives!

Happy birthday to all friends who were born on September 27! You share the date with the great genius of Jazz piano music – both as a composer and player. Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell was born on September 27, 1924. By the time of his premature death on July 31, 1966, Bud Powell, had firmly […]

Michelle Obama’s classy act of resistance against bigotry

I have another good reason to visit Washington DC, a city I never seem to have enough of. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which was formally dedicated on September 24 by President Barack Obama, promises to be one of the best attractions among the Smithsonian Institution’s already impressive offerings. Whereas the […]

John Coltrane at 90

John Coltrane would have been 90 years old today. Whereas there have been many great Jazz Saxophone players, to my ears Coltrane is one of the top 5 (the others being Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Lester Young and Hank Mobley.)  His playing was so uniquely his that it is difficult to mistake his muscular “sheets […]