Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bajan/Caribbean talent front and centre at 2009 Jazz Fest

By John Stephenson

The recently-concluded Barbados Jazz Festival, featuring non-jazz headliners - notably British pop icon James Blunt, and Neo-Soul diva Angie Stone, represents a curious and interesting departure from previous editions of the festival.

By way of a ‘trojan-horse’ styled marketing initiative that front-ended non-Caribbean acts, the festival actually boasted a high quotient of Bajan and Caribbean talent.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the history of jazz festivals is littered with successful box-office non-jazz acts. If the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival (organised by the astute Swissman Claude Nobs) can headline pop and rock acts such as Chaka Khan and Carlos Santana, who is to argue with GMR International (organisers of the Barbados Jazz Festival) for giving James Blunt top billing?

Offbeat Notes: Here in Jamaica where radio stations shun that music created in New Orlean by Black musicians, where jazz is generally deemed tasteless and unpalletable, who can argue with Walter Elmore for billing predominantly non-jazz acts on Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival 2009?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Duke E Jazz Fest Provides Jazz Band for Obama

Duke Ellington Jazz Festival provided Jazz Band for Private Event for
President-Elect Barack Obama During Inauguration

Members of Duke Ellington Jazz Festival Artistic Advisor Paquito
D'Rivera's Quintet performed at an early dinner buffet for
President-Elect Barack Obama and his friends and family on Sunday
evening, January 18, at the Blair House. The Obamas lived at Blair
House prior to moving into the White House on Inauguration Day, January

5th Duke Ellington Jazz Festival: June 5 - 15, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kathy Brown in her full element

Published: Monday January 12, 2009
Media: Jamaican Gleaner
Writer: Fabian O'Hara
A streak of sweat ran down her face, pausing on her chin. She was in her full element.
Kathy Brown, pianist, composer and singer, showed her mettle as she backed for internationally acclaimed vocalist A.J. Brown. This in mid-November at a noontime concert in downtown Kingston.
The pianist has also shared stage with the likes of.....
Full story:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kingston's E-Park big band for Jazz & Blues Fest

E-Park Band, formed in 2005 with a glitter of Jamaica's music greats
like Dean Fraser, Glen Browne, Peter Ashbourne, Dwight Pickney, Michael Fletcher gets its moniker from its original bandstand at Kingston popular leisure spot Emancipation Park.

The band filled a vacancy created by the absence of a regular performing big Band Band in Jamaica.

Under the musical directorship of legendary pop, jazz pianist and conductor Peter Ashbourne, the rotating 11-piece band that attracts an all-star cast, is contingent on five rhythm section players and six wind instrumentalists , the smallest number of musicians that can successfully simulate the big band sound.

Cabaret star Karen Smith and crooner Michael Sean Harris make up the vocal contingent to enhance E-Park's repertoire that include jazz, Show, cabaret and popular music, both instrumental and vocal.

Turnkey Productions, organisers of the annual event, has sought to uprooted E-Park from the New Kingston Park to seed the Big Band at the fertile Aqueduct grounds in Montego Bay for a Saturday (January 24) showing at Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival.

E-Park Big Band

Hopeton Williams and Vivian Scott: trumpets
Romeo Gray/Calvin Cameron: trombone
Ian Hird: alto sax, flute
Nicholas Laraque/Everton Gayle: tenor sax, flute
Dean Fraser: baritone, alto sax
Desi Jones: drums
Glen Browne/Michael Fletcher: bass
Dwight Pickney: guitar
Othneil Lewis: keyboards
Peter Ashbourne: piano, conductor