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?