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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas - don't despair

Thanks to computer problems, this is my first post in many weeks.
Odd yet pleasant that it comes just in time for me to wish
all of you a Christmas season filled with joy, love and peace.
A lot has happened in the last quarter of the year, but God -
and technology -willing, I'll return full force in January.
havea happy New Year
jazzofonik Lives!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


First in series Wednesday Nite Out
happens this Wednesday (Nov 23) at the Deck
beginning at 8:00 p.m. featuring Desi Jones
& Friends and special guest Tessann Chin
Cover charge: $500

Recorded selections throughout
by the Jazzofonik X-perience

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rootz Underground @ Red Bones

Jamaican band Rootz Underground Movement will
perform at Red Bones blues cafe in Kingston
The band is also in the running to represent
Jamaica in the Global Battle of the Bands
in London, England in December.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Rhythm n' Spice postponed

the Rhythm n' Spice Food & Music Festival, scheduled for
Nov 3 through 5 has been posponed until "early 2006"
the organizers say. The festival was part of an overall project
twinning the citiies of Montego Bay(Jamaica) and New Orleans.

Set to have appeared on the bill wee well known New Orleans
trumpeters kermit Ruffins and Irvin Mayfield as well as the
Rebirth Brass Band and an equally strong and diverse
jamaican lineup.

This as the island braces for yet more rain as this seemingly
endless tropical storm season continues to flex its muscles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"Sonny & Foggy" for Jazz in the Gardens

The Jazz in the Gardens continues at the Pegasus Hotel and
this edition, scheduled for October 30, features the return of
two of the true elder statesmen of Jamaican jazz.
Sonny Bradshaw will grace the gazebo, as will
former Government minister, diplomat and
inveterate jazz pianist Seymour "Foggy" Mullings.

The event will also feature another multiple talent,
broadcaster/actor/musicologist Charles Hyatt, as
well as newer vocalist Candi and CD spins
courtesy of Keith Brown. Showtime 6:pm

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Iron Lions update

The next excerpt from the book (You remember it, don't you?)
Should be posted on Friday. A taxing combination of computer
problems and just plain oold busyness nearly KO'd it
but Iron Lions will return soon.

Jazzofonik Live Nov 16

Still struggling towards a live showcase at the Deck
it now looks like November16 will be our start date
Headliner likely Tessann Chin, along with Desi Jones
& friends as well as upcoming artists M, Ouida Lewis
and Kevin Bonfield and Michael Andrew.

Confirmation soon (I think :-)]

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Again thanks to many visitors and posters (repeaters especially) who
are ushing the counter on this blog, as we steam past 2000
and towards 3000 visitors - this in a crowded web field and with
a mere 15 months under our belt.
God's good

Nawlinz Stars come to Jamaica

In katrina's wake and the recovery/reconstruction effort in New Orleans,
the Rhythm &Spice Music and Food Festival will join the cities
of New Orleans and Montego Bay from November 3through 6.

Featurd musical acts include Irvin Mayfield, Kermit Ruffins and Rebirth
Brass Brand as wellas Jamaican superstars Third World and up and
comers C-Sharp. The main concert happens Sat. November 6 at
the Montego Cruise Port terminal, but the musicians will
jam at various points along the famed Mobay Hip Strip throughout
the event.

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has given a provsional commitment
to attendng the event, which is the joint brainchild of Ernest Collins,
head of the CIty of New Orleans Arts Department and Jamaican
hotelier/entrepreneur Horace Peterkin

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Nawlinz Stars for Mobay

In the wake of katrina, the world is reaching out to
New Orleans and to New Orleans jazz artists.

Latest effort is Rhythm & Spice Fest, set for Nov 2-5
in Montego Bay. Food and music showcase will feature
talents of trumpeters Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield
and Rebirth Brass Band alongside Jamaican reggae acts
such as Third World, C-Sharp, and Roots Underground
at various venues in the Second City

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has given a provisional
commitment to attend the event.

John Legend for Air J Jazz

John Legend added to Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Lineup

The three day Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2006: The
Art of Music, transforms the picturesque Rose Hall Resort
and Country Club in Montego Bay from Thursday, January
26 through to Saturday, January 28 next year. Well known
for world class production values, a selection of leading
yet diverse acts and an unparalleled comfort atmosphere,
the ninth staging of the Festival is expected to supersede
previous expectations.
Legend's album, Get Lifted, is his "major label debut album
on Columbia Records. On the album, he shows his dynamism
of fusing "classic old school soul music with the edgy flavor
of 21st century hip-hop." Although he is new to the scene as
a solo artiste, this unique and multi-talented artiste, has
recently been nominated for four (4) VIBE Awards. Last
month, he collected the MOBO Award for Best R&B Artist.

Already confirmed for the festival are Shaggy, Al Green, KEM,
Maxi Priest, Morgan Heritage, James Ingram, Air Supply
and many more!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Red Bones Events


all admission fees in Jamaican dollars

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
I have, as you may guess, a weakness for drummers, and fro feamle drummers in particular. Following on Cindy Blackman, here's drum prodigy Terri Lynne Carrington, from her own site. [Susie Ibarra and Allison Miller, watch out :-) ]

Monday, October 03, 2005

More Air J Line up

In addition to AL Green and Kne O Chaw Hampton, the 2006
renewal of the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival
in Montego Bay will also boast the presence of
James Ingram nad regaae-pop superstar Shaggy.

The music fest returns to the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course
opposite the Wyndham Rose Hall resort inthe
secodn city.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jazzofonik Live line-up cl;ose to final

the final line up for the first jazzopfonik Live at the Deck
is almost ready. Singer Keisha patterson and painist Dr.
Kathy Brown have agreed.
Final line up in one week

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by fstop45.
We're not familiar with her (there are more Jamaicans outside of than inside Jamaica) but our newest jazzhedz member, fstop45, says Ena is from Jamaica. More power to them both. Check fstop's cool jazz and travel pics at jazzhedz

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

September to Remember

Jazzofonik X-perience is among those remembering the music of
two jazz giants who have separate anniversaries in September.
Had they lived, Miles Davis and John Coltrane would each be
celebrating their 79th birthday this year(Davis was actually
born April 11, 1926). The month of September brings a unique
opportunity to comemorate these two giants of jazz. On September
28, 1991, Miles Davis died, officially of complications from a
stroke and pnuemonia, but known to be the final outcome of years
of hard living, fuelled at various times by drug addiction.
Coltrane, (born Septemebr 23, 1926), who also had his problems
with heroin and alcohol, died July 17, 1967 of liver cancer.

Davis will be the subject of Music for Miles" a special tribute CD
party at The Deck, on September 21 and againon September 28, beginning
at 7:30p.m. each Wednesday. "The Trane Comes Round Again" will
specially pay tribute COltrane on those two dates

In addition to Kind of Blue, which featured Jamaican-born Wynton Kelly on piano, Davis is best known for the album Bitches Brew (1970) which marked one of the most successful examples of fusing jazz with rock and funk stylings. His instrumental cover of the Michael Jackson hit, "Human Nature" is also popular. His last recorded album, Doo-Bop (1992) was produced by a hip-hop artist and found Davis experimenting yet again with fusing jazz with modern rhythms.

Coltrane’s best-known works as a leader include Giant Steps, A Love Supreme and the Live at the Village Vanguard series, recorded at the renowned New York jazz club (still going strong). His re-working of the Rodgers/Hammerstein song "My Favourite Things" (from the soundtrack to the Sound of Music) became an almost instant jazz standard.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Teen Star, Soul Vet for Air J Jazz

Among the names being bandied baout for the 2006 renewal
of the Air Jamaica Jazz 7Blues festival in Montego Bay
are pianist and teen jazz sensation Kne O' Chaw Hampton
and soul veteran Al Green

Kne-O'Chaw is a female jazz pianist and student attending the Levitt Visual and Performing Arts School in Willingboro, NJ, where she was a member of the school's Jazz Band. Kne-O'Chaw has been performing on stage for more than 3 years. She composes and arranges some of her original songs, which she performs in her shows. She does perform copy material, mostly old jazz standards. She plays classical, gospel and R&B as well. Kne-O'Chaw has been training for five years in classical and jazz piano with her personal instructor Christine Boyd of Willingboro, NJ. Her first CD "The Other Side of Town" retailed in Tower Records, Borders and The Music Factory. She also made a guest appearance on a local Philadelphia Radio Gospel talk show to promote her CD.

Green, as most should know is a proven hitmaker and performer, behind such classics as "Let's Stay Together" and "How Do You Mend (A Broekn Heart)?" that have been covered many times over.

in 2004, Green signed to Blue note records and has since relased 2 albums on that label.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fatheadin DETROIT

Fatheadin DETROIT
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Some sad news came our way recently cocnerning legendary sax (and flute) man David Fathead Newman - he broke his hip in an accident. But fortunately, Fathead had surgery and is reportedly recovering. Here's a shot of him form the Detroit Jazz Fest earlier this month, from Dr. Jazz

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the X-panding X-perience

Beginning Friday (Sep 16) the Jazzofonik X-perience expands
to two additional venues. On Friday, the jazz sound system
begins a new engagement at the Senior Common Room of the
University of the West Indies at Mona,

Then on Tuesday evenings, the X-perience moves to the recently
opened Flame lounge (formerly Andy's Place) in the Twin Gates Plaza.

The Wednesday nite Jazzofonik @ the Deck X-perience continues,
with Oct 19 set as the new start date for Jazzofonik Live. more
details in a week

Henry Hits Brooklyn

Nicole Henry will perform a concert as part of the “Brooklyn
Sings, Brooklyn Swings” Concert Series in the Brooklyn Public
Library, 1 Grand Army Plaza, on Thursday, September 22 at 7:00pm.
Making use of the library's 7-foot grand piano, Nicole and her trio
will open this 3-month series with selections from her two chart
-topping CD releases and other timeless standards. Named “Best
New Jazz Artist of 2004” by HMV/Japan, Henry has just returned
from Korea and Japan on tour with the Eddie Higgins Trio. While
in Japan, Nicole performed at the Tendo Jazz Festival sharing
the bill with artists such as Nicholas Payton and Eric Alexander.

Other September performances include:

Friday 9/16 - Miami Beach Ritz-Carlton Lapidus Lounge Sunday
9/18 - Miami Beach - Emeril’s Sunday Brunch Monday 9/19 -
Orlando, FL - Katrina Relief Fundraiser 9/21 & 9/23 -
Washington, D.C. Performances for The Congressional
Black Caucus Saturday 9/24 - Savannah, GA – Blues, Boogie & Bar BQ

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Congrats [NEA] Jazz Masters

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia today
announced that seven living legends of American music will
join the ranks of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz

The seven new NEA Jazz Masters are Ray Barretto (percussionist)
,Tony Bennett (vocalist), Bob Brookmeyer (arranger-composer),
Chick Corea (keyboardist), Buddy DeFranco (solo instrumentalist, clarinet), Freddy Hubbard (solo instrumentalist, trumpet), and
John Levy (A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy,
for his career as a manager).

Initiated in 1982, the NEA Jazz Master title is the nation's
highest honor in jazz. In addition to the coveted designation,
each member of the Class of 2006 will receive a fellowship award
of $25,000 and be invited to participate in outreach efforts,
including broadcasts and NEA Jazz Masters On Tour.

The NEA Jazz Master Award is part of the NEA Jazz Masters
Initiative and is sponsored by Verizon. Through its support
of this initiative, Verizon continues its tradition of
supporting quality musical entertainment and education across
the U.S.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Iron Lions" saga continues

Finallly found notes. Here's an excerpt from the Prologue of
my much (maybe too much) talked-about book


"I done! No more foolishness! I can do better than this!"

His trumpet case secured with an imperious snap of the
metalcatch, Bobby Nelson charged past his six bandmates
and headed for the large door of the top-floor hotel

The band, Iron Lions, was just coming off a 13-city
bi-coastal US tour (up the West coast, then down
the east, after a seemingly interminable flight across
the country.) Thirteen cities in sixteen nights, with
extra gigs in some cities.

"Bobby, wait," called pianist Ezekiel Parry, known to
all as "Deacon". "You can't make a decision like that
based on how you feel right now. We all tired and..."

---"and nothin' dammit!" Bobby cut him off thunderously,
his six-three, two hundred and thirty pound frame heaving
with fury. "Don't gimme none a your preachin' here today

Outside their suite, fifteen floors up, the early afternoon
air was deathly still, red-orange streaks of sunlight
lining the tufted tops of the cumulus clouds, like some
kind of Impressionist nightmare. It was a common but dreaded
vista in the Caribbean. A storm was coming. A big one.

Hope to have the next bit for you in about a week.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pair of new ones from Benjy Myaz

multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Benjy Myaz is
set to release two new albums over the next few months. The
first is a vocal-instrumental combo called Long Story Short,
while the next is an all-instrumental affair. No specific dates
have yet been nailed down for either disc, but in talking to Benjy
after the recent Jazz in the Gardens show, he indicated a
possible late October release for the first (he played a
version of the title track at the show).

Log on to benjymyaz.com or watch this space for more info
as it comes up

Monday, September 05, 2005

Everything "Clicked" at Jazz in the Gardens

The evening began with a tribute to an ailing giant of
modern jazz, Michael Brecker, diagnosed with a rare blood
cell disorder. His fusion classic, Nothing Personal was
the first of two rousing offerings from a power trio
consisting of keyboard whiz Ozooni and the supertight
rhythm duo of Dale Haslam on bass and Desi Jones on drums
(the latter two having just returned from a nine-week
multi-city tour with Jimmy Cliff). This they followed
with Mary’s Lamb, the keyboardist’s delightfully idiosyncratic
re-working of the time-worn nursery rhyme, proving as Sonny
Rollins was oncel led to state, "jaz is the only music that
absorb almost anything else and still be jazz."

The audience sufficiently warmed up it was time for guitazrist-vocalist-songwirter Benjy Myaz to make his
Jazz in the Gardens debut, a somewhat glaring oversight
given his prodigious abilities and proven hitmaker status.
Even though hius guitar carried a special pick-up that gave
it an expanded range (bass included), Myaz kept the drum
and bass player in the line-up. He added however two keyboardists,
the reliably excellent Othniel Lewis and the relatively untested
Andrew Young. Both were in good form as were backing vocalists
Mickiesha Mc Taggart and Nicolee Sharpe.

But it was mostly Myaz, as he took the audience on a smooth,
R&B jazz journey that took in Lionel Richie’s "Love Will Find
A Way" and the standard "Autumn Leaves" with equal ease. Myaz
dedicated the former selection to the victims of Katrina and
to all the suffering people of the world.

There was also a new song, "Long Story Short" a delightful
ballad from his upcoming CD, and a reading of "People Make
the World Go Round" (a la Ramsey Lewis) where the vocals would
not be out of place on a Whispers album. He capped an oustanding inaugural stint with the obligatory "Love You Higher" and –when
called, as expected, for encore – garnished with a sutiably
sultry reading of Bobby Caldwell’s "You Do For Love" with
addiitonal oomph from the alto sax stylings of Errol Hird.

After the intermission, the original trio returned and Ozooni’s
Fats Waller-style bit of blues humour "The Best Thing For You
Is Me" They remained intact for the night’s feature act.

Whisking herself on stage in a simple yet dramatic black-and-white ensemble, S. African –born Lorraine Klassen (she now spends much
of her time in Canada) exuding enough energy to power all seventeeen floors of the hotel and much to spare.In a consummate display
of showmanship, she danced, shook, shimmied, ad-libbed, vamped,
teased and sang her way into the hearts of the Pegasus audience,
who lapped up every minute whether they were witnessing her for
the first time or not.

Among the highlights of her stint was the popular "Click Song"
made famous by "Auntie" Miriam Makeba. Klaasen explained the
meaning of the song pointing out that in the click-dominated Xhosa language, one of the references was to a small beetle that
habitually crawled up under the long skirts worn by the women
as they went (babes on their backs) into the fields to gather
wheat. The punch line came when she demostarted how the women
–too havily laden to stop and investigate, "dislodged" the
pesky bugs.

Klaasen’s superior range and irrepressible sense of humour shone
through every aspect of herset, whether delivering "Georgia On
My Mind" "A Foggy Day in London Town"or the other Makeba smash
"Pata Pata" (with a demonstration, of course).

With the calls for her return to the stage overwhelming, she
re-entered claling on Myaz for a free-wheeling adaptation of
the blues anthem "Everyday I Have the Blues" with both leads
liberally substituting their own lines for the original.

The sound was still not as consistently clear and on target as
it can be, but in every other respect, the most recent Jazz in
the Gardens confirmed the series as among the very best live
tickets going. The next instalment takes place on October 30
and who knows what sonorous gifts may float up onto the Louisiana
bayous between now and then. Our neighbours to the north surely
could use them.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Top Spins - Sep 02

Our prayers go out to the folks of N. Orleans
- where jazz became jazz - and the Gulf coast.

My Top Spins for this period:

Herbie Hancock - Possibilities: Hancock Musci/Hear Music
a mutli-guest showcase that fluidly moves through rock,
blues, funk and pop with few missteps;

Charlie Peacock - Love Press Ex-Curio: Runway Network
A great modern jazz session from one ofthe most
prolific and lauded Chritian songwriters of all.
With great stints from Ralph Alessi(trump.) Jeff Coffin
and Ravi Coltrane (saxes); Joey Barron (drums) and
Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar) among others. My pick of
the week.

Ginetta's Vendetta - La Dolce Vita: Kickin' Wiccan Music
trumpeter/vocalist/songwriter Ginetta Minicchielo
and her varied lineup run through some pop-jazz
originals and a funkafied adaptation of My Funny Valentine

which brings me to...

Miles Davis -the best of the Quintet 1965-68: Legacy/Sony
All September long, I'll be paying tribute to the
"Dark Prince" climaxing ina special all-Miles Jazzofonik
X-perience CD party at the Deck

Battle of the Bands launched

The Jamaica campaign for the Global battle
of the Bands officially got underway in a lively
ceremony at D' Roof erarlier this week.

Amid clips from last year's inaugural world finals,
National Director Seretse Small outlined the process
for Jamaica's historic participation.

"The organizers were very excited at the prospect of
jamaican rperesentation in the contest," he said. Small
added that an event like Global Battlae of the Bands
would not only enhance Jamaica's reputation abroad
as a music powerhouse, but would further stimulate
live music in Jamaica.

Three elimiantions will be held (Oct 22, 29 and nov. 5
respectively) followed by a National Finals on Nov. 13,
all at the BackYaad complex in Constant Spring. The winner
goes on tothe World finals athte London Astoria on Dec 7.

There, they'll compete for a first prize of US $100,000 plus
a promotional tour to all the other competing countries.

Finalists will be chosen by a combination of points from a
judging panel and public voting via call-ins or at the venue.
80% judging panel; 20% public vote.

As a corollary tot he project, LMG Models Limited will
be contributing to the styling of the Jamaican participants.

Busy Sunday for Jazz

As previously posted, two concerts are scheduled for
thsi Sunday with leading jazz artists. A little more
info on the line-ups.

over at the Pegasus, the jazz in the Gardens series resumes
at 6:00p m with stints form drummmer Desi Jones and Friends,
multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Benjy Myaz and S. African
star Lorraine Klaasen

About 10 minutes down the road, the 2nd annual Jazz
for the Kids concert takes place at the Officers Club
JDF HQ beginning at 5, featuring Dean Fraser, Dwight Richards
and Friends, Maria Myrie, Della Manley, Mark Pritchett
and Nichoals Laraque

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jazzofonik Anniversary special

In celebration of one year of Jazzofonik X-perience at
the Deck, a special anniversary Jam takes place at the
Deck. Line-up to announced shortly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Hurricane" Cindy

"Hurricane" Cindy
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Few drummers, male or female, can throw down with force and rhythm like Cindy Blackman, caught here by Enid Farber in New York


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
From Enid Farber, highlights of the just-concluded Charlie Parker Jazz Fest in Marcus Garvey Park, NYC

Monday, August 29, 2005

S. Africa Feel for Jazz in Gardens

The popular Jazz in the Gardens cabaretseries returns to
the Gazebo Lawn of the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston this
Sunday, Sep. 4.

Among the headliners is South African star Lorraine
Klaasen. No stranger to Jamaica, Klaasen has performed
on the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival as well as on her own bill.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Jazz for the Kids

Sunday, Sep 4 will see the renewal of the Jazz for the Children
charity concert to benenfit the Voluntary Oragnization for the
Upliftment of Children(VOUCH), at the Jamaica Defence Force
Officer's Club, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The event was inaugurated last uear and proved successful,
certainly in artistic terms and most likely in commercial
tersm also.

Among those slated to perform this year are sax-flutist
Nicholas Laraque and veteran reed man Dean Fraser

The Roaring Forties double bass

The Roaring Forties double bass
Originally uploaded by docaoimh.
Unconventional indeed! This member of the swing band The Roaring Forties was captured in Cork, Ireland by our newest jazzhedz member, docaoimh.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

R.I.P. Robert Moog

Robert Moog, the maverick scientist who invented the music
synthesizer that bears his name, died Sunday of a brain tumor.
He was 71.

Introduced in the mid-1960s, the Moog became an integral device
in the careers of jazz giants like Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis,
and Jan Hammer as well as countless rock acts (Yes, the Monkees)
and soul/r&b stars like Stevie Wonder.

Condolences to the Moog family and to all who knew him well.

Top Spins -abridged

An abridged version of Top Spins this week
work has pressed upon us and kept our
listening below the desired level, but
here goes:

- The Kevin Robinson Ensemble, feat. Kim Walker: A Journey in Freedom[The God Factor] - www.kevinrobisnonensemble.com;

Ginetta's Vendetta - La Dolce Vita - www.ginetta'svendetta.com;

Sherman Irby - Faith -Black Warrior(www.blackwarrior.com);

Mat Maneri - Pentagon - Thirsty Ear (www.thirstyear.com)

Battle of the Bands update

The selection of a Jamaican contingent to compete in
the second annual Global Battle of the Bands in London
moves closer with a press launch for the event scheduled
for Wed. Aug. 31 at D' Roof open-air cabaret in New Kingston

National Director, music company CEO and guitarist
Seretse Small will detail the requirments, timetable
and other info associated with the project.

Monday, August 15, 2005

saxman Wayne

saxman Wayne
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Saxman Wayne Escoffrey - who is of Jamaican parentage - in repose with his horn.

Wayne and his band - Toru Dodo on piano;Dwayne Burno on bass; Jason Borwn and drums and wife Carolyn Leonhart on vocals, did a weekend show at NYC's Jazz Gallery

Nicole Henry Hits the Road

Vocalist Nicole Henry begins her tour tonight in San Miguel,
Mexico to perform four concerts between August 11-17.
Returning to the states for four days, Nicole will be a
featured artist on the CD 101.9 FM stage in New York City
at the Harlem Day Concert, Sunday, August 21st, being put
on by the Discover Harlem/Harlem Chamber of Commerce. Next
it's off to Asia for seven concerts, to reinforce why Japan
named her “Best New Jazz Artist of 2004.” There Nicole will
be backed by the Eddie Higgins Trio on two, sold-out concerts
at the COEX Theater in Seoul, Korea August 23rd and 24th f
ollowed by dates in Tokyo (August 26 & 29), Nagoya (August 28).
Nicole Henry will also share the bill with the likes of Nicholas
Payton and Eric Alexander at the Tendo Jazz Festival, Tendo,
Japan on Saturday August 27th performing jazz standards as heard
in her top-selling CDs, The Nearness of You (#2/HMV, Japan) and
Teach Me Tonight(#1/HMV, Japan), a collaboration with the Eddie
Higgins Trio.. For a direct link to Nicole's concert listings
go to: http://www.nicolehenry.com/.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Jazz HIP

The Jazz Heritage Institute of Preservation (Jazz H.I.P.,
don't sweat the acronym) will soon be registered as a
not-for-profit under local (jamaican) jurisdiction.

Jazz HIp will be the umbrella organization for co-ordinating
the outreach activities of Jazzofonik. It will also be supported
by a Resource Centre (publications, CDs, multimedia etc. ) to
be established over the next six-nine months.
Watch this space for more

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Top Spins & book update

TOP SPINS for this week:

Dave Weckl Band - Multiplicity; Stretch/Concord

Garage A Trois - Outre Mer; Telarc

Dave Brubeck Quartet - London Flat, London Sharp; Telarc

Chuk Fowler & Higher Energy - up From ther Roots; Seque

The Iron lions book is till delayed, but not defeated.
Will clear my slate and start over from scratch this


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Right on time for my trumpet fix, comes this montage from [ever-reliable] Enid Farber.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ravi Coltrane

Ravi Coltrane
Originally uploaded by hansspeekenbrink.
Still have memories of the awesome perfromance sax man Ravi Coltrane and his group (Luis Perdomo -piano; Drew Gress-bass; EJ Strickland -drums) laid down at the St. Lucia Jazz Fest this past May.
Ravi's new album, In Flux is pretty good too. See my review on allaboutjazz.com


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Another brilliantly idiosyncratic photomontage from Enid Farber featuring violinist Regina Carter.

Carter is one of the featured acts on the Bermuda Jazz fest, scheduled for October, as well as Anglo-jamaican sax man Courtney Pine, vocalist extraordinnaire Patti Labelle and others.

No Prologue - yet

The dangers of paper documents.
Just as I intended to transcribe the Prologue of "Iron Lions"
my hand-written notes have gone missing.
Not worry. Will have it up by Monday the latest.
Thanks for your patience

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Top Spins

This delayed for the past week or two due to problems with the computer i'm presently using (hopefully now resolved) the Top 5 discs in order of number of times I've spun them:


-Terence Blanchard: Flow – Blue Note;
A brilliant folow-up to his Blue Note debut, Bounce. This one finds
The leader and his band jelling for a well-realized, accomplished collection, with particularly good work coming from guitarist
Lionel Loueke

-Eric Alexander: Dead Center - High Note;

-Roberto Magris Europlane: Check In – Black Saint

-Caribbean Jazz Project: Here & Now Live(2Disc) -MCGJazz

and a classic Revisited
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Free For All – Blue Note

Quote of the Week (taken from AllAboutJazz.com):
"Its taken all my life to learn what not to play"
-Dizzy Gillespie, jazz trumpeter

Long wilderness

Apologies for the long dry spell - computer problems. Regular Posts will resume tomorrow

Monday, July 18, 2005

Author's Note

As stated, here is first bit from literary effort, Iron Lions:

This is a work of fiction.
Butthe chgaracters and the scenarios depicted in the following
pages spring from my fervent desire to present a different
reality for jazz/improvised music, first and foremost in my
home country, but also in other parts of the world where
mindless, soulless, pre-packaged pop reigns and where ignorance
is worn like a badge(or a designer logo).

Preachy, I know, but that is the wellspring of this work,
and I cannot help but acknowlegdge it.

there will always be those who for whatever reason, won't
appreciate much less be passionate about jazz. Uniformity
in musical tastes is not noly unrealistic but unwelcome.

But for too long, I feel, the balance has been tipped in
favour of the artificial(Of course, jaz isn't the only "real"
music out there, just the one I most identify with). All I
seek to do is restore some diversity, or at least a sense
of diversity.

This is a work of fiction. But the characters and
scenarios are out there, folded into the recesses
of our ephemeral pop culture.

They just need a little help to emerge.

Reid Inna Babylon

Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus
Originally uploaded by ercu.
Why, its Reid Anderson of the Bad Plus(as if), pefroming at local club Babylon during the Istanbul Jazz festival

Guess Who

Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus
Originally uploaded by ercu.
From our man in Istanbul, ercu, this shot from the Istnabul Jazz Festival. A clearer shot to follow.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Here We Go Again

At this rate, we have more hurricane posts than music posts before the season ends (officially) in November.
Emily is rushing towards the south coast, with more rain for already waterlogged areas promised as early as tonight.
Still, we're thankful. Keeping our heads up

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Post no. 101 - Battle of the Bands for Jamaica

Word out of the Griot Music enterprise of guitarist/composer/
publisher Seretse Small is tha he has secured the Jamaican
franchise for the 2005 renewal ofthe Global Battel of the Bands.
Billed as the biggest live championship for popular music, the event
was first staged in november last year, involving bands from 16
countries. The websiste, gbob.com lsists only 2 rules: no covers,
and no pre-recorded music.
Small and Griot Music will put out more details shortly on
the Jamaica leg ofthe contest.

Meanwhile, under his impresario hat, Small is trying to continue
his "Art of Caribbean Music" live series, which has produced
several outstanding showcases over the past few months. "We're
trying to get [saxophonist] Dean Fraser and Luther Francois as the headliners but we're having difficulty tying Dean down to a date

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Jaco's "Gospel"

Fresh out the mailbox is a copy of "Gospel for JFPIII:
A Tribute to Jaco Pastorius" courtesy of the folks at
Moonjune Records[moonjune.com] On first spin, it sounds
like a suitably adventurous tribute to the late great
bass maestro, including contributions from steel pan
virtuouso Othello Molineaux as well as Gil Goldstein
(an accordion take on "Punk Jazz") and Jaco's son,
Felix among many others. Check it out if you can

Lou Donaldson

Lou Donaldson
Originally uploaded by Misterjazz.
I'm trying to beef up the photo quotient of Jazzofonik and this is a particularly "beefy" shot of sax great Lou Donaldson, courtesy of misterjazz, a member of my Jazzhedz Group at Flickr

Monday, July 11, 2005


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Drummer Jeremy Ashbourne of the jazz/pop group Wide Grin in action at D' Roof

The 1st Twelve months

Happy Birthday to us!
In July last year, we put up our first posts,
and here we are, one year, two hurricanes, and
many jazz performances and recordings later.
Again many thanks to all visitors, supporters
and jazz fans in general as we steam ahead

"Iron Lions" Now a Novel

On further reflection, the planned jazz biography
Iron Lions, will now take the form of a novella,
focuissing on a band of young jazz players in the
present context, but with references to the Jamaican
jazz giants of past and present.

Beginning next week, jazzofonik readers will see
the Prologue, plus excerpts of the first seven[7]
chapters, exclusively on this blog, in addition
to our regular posts. Looking forward to your

Friday, July 08, 2005

A "wet kiss" from Dennis

Not make fun of Cuba Cayman or the U.S. Gulf coast, but
it seems hurricanes "vacation" off the Jamaican coast,
pick up strength and move on. Not as dramaticaly as Ivan
last year, Dennis skirted the NE coast of Jamaica and at
alst update is now packing 150mph winds.

Fortunately no wind damage for us but buckets of rain
over the last two days. Still overcast right now and
nitlelife still mostly on hold

Have a great weekend

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Max ill

More sad news from the US jazz front. Unconfirmed word is
that 82 -y.o. master drummer and bebop pioneer Max Roach
is suffering from some form of dementia and is now in
a managed care facility. This is a sad follow-up to
my previous post concerning saxophonist Michael
Brecker. Prayers to family and friends of Max Roach

An unwelcome "blowin' session"?

As the fringes of what is now Hurricane Dennis come ashore, nightlife is, naturally, on hold, including Jazzofonik Wednesdays at The Deck. A number of other shows and events have either been postponed or cancelled.
all being well, I'll have more on Friday

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

1000+.....and counting

Sometime yesterday, this blog logged its 1000th visitor.
- and with our first anniversary coming up to boot
Just would like to say a big thank you to
everyone who's checked out Jazzofonik over these
past 12 months - and greater thanks to those of
you who've commented and sent e-mails

By God's grace we'll continue to do our part
[however small]in keeping this music alive. Its been a great
trip so far and I pray you'll stay with me

Versonic @ Red Bones

The up 'n' coming combo Versonic Vibes
brings their multi-element hybrid to the
Red Bones Blues Cafe this Friday (Jul. 1)
Includes sax, bass, steel pan (excellent)
drums and violin (and any other instrument
that may occur to them to throw into the mix).
Deserving of wider recognition for sure

Monday, June 27, 2005

Correction to releases post

The previous post should have ericalexanderjazz.com
and not simply ericalexander.com as the webiste
reference for Eric Alexander. Apologies
for the error

Recommended releases

Terence Blanchard: Flow - Blue Note;
Eric Alexander: Dead Centre - High Note;
Randy Lippincott: Soul Monkey -GP Recordings

I've been playing the Blanchard disc several times
over - its great. The Alxander record was an impulse
pick-up after their smokin' live set to close the
Ocho Rios jazz festival - It took some time but the
record has definitely grown on me - A Few Miles From
Memphis and Sonrisa are my faves. Randy Lippincottt is
a bad-ass blues guitarist and (from my meeting with him
during Ocho Rios jazz) an all-round good human being. This
is a rocking good CD - Nightshade (an original), Stop Runnin'
Behind Me and Uhhh! are just a few of the highlights

for more info (in reverse order):

Pray for Michael brecker

Came across item in NY Times that stated that the great
tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker has been diagnosed
witha serious blood disorder. Our prayers for
complete healing go out to him and for strength
to his loved ones friends and colleagues

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"THREE X FOUR" - Ocho Rios jazz review

Other band formats came and delivered good accounts of
themselves (this writer arrived after the reportedly good
performance by the Antelope Valley Big Band), but its arguable
that the final day of the 2005 Ocho Rios Jazz Festival belonged
to quartets.

The first such to greet us was the effervescent Kathy Brown group,
comprising Brown on keyboards and the now road-tested trio (with
Brown and other groups) of Dale Brown on electric bass, Denver Smith
on percussion and Deleon "Jubba" White on drums. One of the real gems
to have emerged in jazz over the last several years, Brown never gives
you the same tune twice and even her oft-performed numbers, like The
Flinstones theme, and Afro-Blue were presented on Sunday last with some
interesting, if minor variations. The group also played a Cuban compositon
entitled The Light that went over well with the audience.

After their departure, another large aggregation took the Almond Tree stage.
Billed as a tribute to ska, theirs was a meandering albeit energetic set
that saw, founder/leader Errol Lee also hailing Ocho Rios festival founder
Sonny Bradshaw and others associated with the event. Lee, aided and abetted
by festival sponsors bMobile, also encouraged some audience participation
to the lively ska numbers, as well as a hilarious sing-along in which the
contestant – clearly a foreigner - warbled his best Bob Marley, blissfully
out of tune and pace with the band.

The next foursome brought a change of pace to the festival, at a time
when organizers were beginning to "chase the sun" as it were (the garden
setting with its gazebo are not equipped for a nightime show). Black
Zebra saw the return of Brown on bass, along side Richie Cunningham on
the trap set. Up front were Mark Pritchett and Wayne McGregor, who did
a virtual quickstep through a part-tribute to Delta blues legend Muddy Waters
, including "The Blues Had A Baby" the salacious "You Shook Me" and I’ve Go to
be Goin Home". They threw in Gary U.S. Bonds’ "New Orleans" and closed in
customary fashion with Steve Winwood’s "Gimme Some Lovin’" the latter featuring
some heavier-than-usual pedal effect work by Pritchett especially.

The blues was just the right platform for the next guest, Philly storyteller
and guitarist Randy Lippincott, who brought his laid-back humour and fluid
acoustic guitar lines to the likes of Robert Johnson’s "Kind-hearted Woman"
The only lament in this case was that Lippincott’s band could not accompany
him to Jamaica. That would have enabled the audience to experience some of
the rollicking bar-burners on his excellent CD, Soul Monkey.

The "Philly Posse" extended their presence with the arrival of the sax-vocal
tandem of Byard Lancaster and Barbara Walker. The poignancy of the absence of
the festival’s founders and spearheads, was much in evidence as Walker dedicated
an intense reading of Simon & Garfunkel’s "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to
Myrna Hague. Walker, ably supported by Marjorie Whylie on piano also showed
characteristic gusto and tonal control on blues chestnuts like "I Ain’t
Doin’ Too Bad" (with a snatch of "Everyday I Have The Blues" thrown in),
her own "One Eyed Man" and, in a nod to her home state, ‘Georgia On My Mind"

But the afternoon’s best "four" by far came right at the end. It comprised
pianist David Hazeltine, upright bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Joe Farnsworth
in support of tenor man Eric Alexander( making a return visit to the event
from last year). They made their take-no-prisoners philosophy abundantly clear
(amid high heat and humidity) from the opening number "Nemesis" (an Alexander
original) and scarcely let up from that point onward, careening through Hazeltine’s composition "Blueslike" and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s " Triste" before effecting
a palpable shift of gear on the Gene Ammons ballad, "Didn’t We" but even this
piece took on a gentle shuffle with time. The final two numbers saw the band
again off to the races, several in the audience more than happy to be swept along.

One can’t say enough about he pleasure of taking in an experienced, hard-swinging
group of musicians who are well acquainted with each other and committed to the
task of making straight-ahead jazz come alive. Within the overall group dynamic,
the band members conducted intricate dialogues (bass-piano; piano-drum; drum-sax)
without ever forgetting the audience before them. Farnsworth in particular,
reeling off stunningly fast tempos, still brought refinement and control to
his drumming, making meaningful comments on all of the drums, but particularly
in one extended display of lightning-fast cymbal work.

With the sun loosening its grip on the venue, the 15th staging of the Ocho Rios
Jazz Festival came to an end. Sonny and Myrna are undoubtedly missed (the
fraternity continues to pray in respect of Myrna’s illness), but it
was demonstrated that even without them, the show must go on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

After the Storm....

After a busy weekend, things are somewhat calm on the
local jazz front. The 15th ocho Rios jazz festival
wrapped at its traditional venue, the Almond Tree
restaurant and garden, with blistering sets by the
Eric Alexander Quartet, Black Zebra and the "Philly
Posse" featuring Byard lancaster, barbara Walker and Randy Lippincott.
kathy Brown and her group also sparkled, as did returnee
Ginetta's Vendetta (at one ofthe Pegasus Jam Sessions).

those of you (Jamaicans) with dual currency credit card
and a taste for the blues should log on to randylippincott.com
and get a copy of his "Soul Monkey" a really satisfying stew
of roginals and standards with some sizzling group play.

also pick any of the albums from the Alexander quartet
(Alexander on tenor sax, David Hazeltine on piano, Nat
Reeves on upright bass and Joe Fransworth on drums. Each
have recorded extensively as both sidemen nad leaders so
your chocie may be difficult

Barbara Walker and Byard Lancaster also have excellent
recordings available.

That ends my "product pimp" post Jazz in the Gardens
renews at the Jamaica Pegasus this Sunday, Jun 26More on
that later


Friday, June 17, 2005

Sommers Time

Following is text of feature from my conversation
with sax man Jimmy Sommers(didn't do Q&A format)
as it appears in the Jamaica Obsever.
Met Jimmy at a welcome party thrown by the sponsors
the other nite and he was every bit as personable
easygoing and vibrant as he was on the phone


Their music may not be comparable, but in outlook,
R&B/jazz saxophonist Jimmy Sommers, who comes to
Jamaica this weekend courtesy of Appleton V/X, appears
to have quite a bit in common with "Margaritaville" icon
Jimmy Buffet. First name similarity aside, both have
interests in themed restaurant ventures along with their
musical careers. And both project a distinctly easygoing
demeanour –at least Sommers did during a telephone conversation.

Ironically, it’s the upbeat drum-and-fife of Junkanoo bands
that is Sommers’ most vivd memory of Jamaica from his previous
visit – several years ago. "I really enjoyed it," he remarks.
"I’m definitely looking forward to coming back and playing there."

In that wish, he is being accommodated by Appleton V/X. The rum
brand is actually sponsoring the saxophonist on a multi-city
jaunt that has so far taken him across the U.S. The Jamaican
leg will culminate at the renowned Fault Line property of musicinas
Peter and Suzanne Couch. Sharing the bill with Sommers on that occasion
will be Gem Myers, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Dwight Pinkney and Suzanne Couch.
The affair is billed as Appleton V/X Evening Escape.

Commenting on the previous dates, which have been club-focussed
[as opposed to the more open vistas of Jacks Hill] Sommers says
the response ahs been "great" and has high praise for his sponsors.
"This gig has helped me to broaden my reach quite a bit, and I’m
sure its been beneficial for Appleton also." The emphasis for the
local dates he says will be on "a party vibe" adding "We’ll be playing
stuff for people to groove to, even get up and dance."

Such fare, typical of the now dominant smooth genre, is the kind
of stuff thattends to alienate jazz fans with a more purist bent.
That’s fine by Sommers, who doesn’t generally attach the term jazz
to what he does. ‘There’s just too many notes in jazz," he says.
"I’m trying to do more groove-oriented stuff, really just laying
some funky riffs over R&B grooves, because that’s what I like and
what I believe people generally like too."

Not that he lacks the chops to make a credible jazz statement.
Sommers started on the instrument at age 10. ‘"It was just one day,
band day, while in fourth grade…Usually people start in fifth grade,
but they came and they had all the instruments laid out. And of course,
when you’re so young, 10 years old, you really don’t know what each
instrument sounds like, so I kind of went for the coolest looking instrument. Well not only was it the coolest looking instrument, but it sounded the
coolest! I got lucky with the sound. I ended up picking it up, and all my friends tried it. It’s funny because usually if there are too many saxophone players, they push you to something else, and thank God that didn’t happen.

Before long, that "cool sound" was taking him to clubs and music joints
in his hometown of Chicago where he would sit in and jam with the likes
of blues guitar legend Buddy Guy. He knew then that he wanted to make a
career in music but elected to study engineering in college, for the sake of having a ‘fall-back’. I know how difficult it can be to build a music career,"
he notes.

After graduation, Sommers took the plunge and moved west – to Los Angeles.
But stardom was elusive and difficult. He played with a few local bands, but nothing really clicked. "Then I ended up going to Europe with a couple of people, did the tour thing. That was fun, but I moved back to Chicago in 1996 and met Eric Benét, he turned me on to his music and I just loved it. He’s from Milwaukee and I ended up doing my first record with him and his producer, his cousin. That got me. I finally got it, how to make records. And that record came out and it’s called James Café. So that kind of gave me the bug again…I finally get it, I finally know how to make records and produce them. So I moved back to LA and things just started cooking"

James Café was followed by 360 Urban Groove and by his latest release Lovelife. Both those albums feature stellar collaborations with some of the top names in the pop-R&B and smooth jazz spheres: Macy Gray (who spices up the title track of the Lovelife album); trumpeter Chris Botti, Ginuwine, Raphael Saadiq and the criminally unheralded soul singer Rashaan Patterson. Of the latter, Sommers says, "He’s amazing, I originally went in to do one track with him and we ended up writing and recording three."

Sommers’ upcoming projects include a "chill-out" album with noted R&B mix artist/vocalist Viktor Duplaix, a Christmas disc, and a more dance-oriented record. Like his previous two albums, these are being released on his own Gemini Records label (licensed to Higher Octave Jazz). "I’ve seen what the big companies do, and this way works out much better for me," he says, "I really get to experiment and to put out what I really like and believe should be on a record."

In between recording and touring, Sommers, who has been featured on both jazz and mainstream television programmes, will be keeping an eye on his culinary venture, the sushi restaurant Koi, in L.A. "We’ve had Janet Jackson, [Leonardo] Di Caprio, J-Lo, we had Madonna in there the other day! We’ve had everyone in there. It’s pretty incredible…it’s become quite the hot spot! His next restaurant venture is called the Rokbar and the partners include bad boy rocker Tommy Lee (formerly of Motley Crue, who dominated tabloid headlines with his now ex-wife Pamela Anderson)

More exciting to the musician than his restaurant projects is a venture called Baby Genius. "It’s a line of kids music products for child development," he explains. "When they’re young or infants, listening to music and helping their spatial intelligence…studies have shown that classical musical does help. So we started the company and distributing CDs and it turned into a monster company. We’ve sold a couple million CDs, videos, toys…it’s becoming a complete entertainment company for kids."

Thus, Sommers brings his many facets to bear on a discerning Jamaican audience. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes, having been voted by people magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Eligible Bachelors. As for commitments, Sommers insists, he hasn’t yet found the right one, but is enjoying the search.

The "island magic" may well claim him this time around, with or without the assistance of the Junkanoo. In the meantime, music fans and smooth jazz aficionados will relish the opportunity to hear one of the best in the genre at the top of his game

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ohci Jazz jam sessions

The Bmobile Jam Sessions in support of the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival
cotinue at the Pegasus (Polo Lounge) tonite (tues.) tomorrow
(Wed.) and Saturday beginning approx. 9:00 p.m. each nite

Also, this and every Wednesday, Jazzofonik CD session + Solo
Spotlite live artiste showcase continues at The Deck

Friday, June 10, 2005

French Musique Night - new date

Thanks to our good friends at the Alliance-Francaise
for the following:
The Alliance Française de la Jamaïque in collaboration with the
Jamaican Federation of Musicians is organizing on Saturday June 18,
“La Fête de la Musique” (Music Fest) on its premises (12b Lilford Avenue,
off Lady Musgrave rd, Kingston 10) from 7:30 pm to midnight.
During this celebration dedicated to all music styles, professionals
and amateurs musicians will participate for free so far as the aim is
to gather people in a joyful atmosphere and to create a link between
people and cultures thanks to music.
The concert will be free of charge and drinks and French Caribbean food
(Sugar Daddies) will be available for sale.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sommers interview

The feature I promised based on my conversation with U.S. saxman Jimmy sommers hould run this Thursday (just did the interview today) Interestingly enough, Sommers characteriszes himself as an R&B artist, "I do R&b stuff over saxophone - there are too many notes in jazz"
Full feature on Thursday

Jazz Reunion for July

The next in guitarist Seretse Small's 'Art of Music" series in July will feature saxophone ace Dean Fraser, as well as his co-horts in the first batch of graduates from the jazz perfomance programe at the Jamaica School of Music (once taught by the great American arranger/trombonist, Melba Liston). Details on this lineup and a brief look at the programme's difficult history next week

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Coming Soon - "Iron Lions: Jamaica's Jazz Heroes"

Have begun work (seriously this time) on book on the greats of jamaican jazz, including overseas jazz figures with strong links to Jamaica. Aim to have out by early December.

Watch this space for updates. Any one with info on Jamaican jazz performers (whether native or of Jamaican parentage) in your area pls fwd to me (bluriter@yahoo.com)


Thursday, June 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
The montag here is from Enid Farber, no strnager to jazz and no strnager to Jamaica. Met Enid at a previous Air Jamaica jazz &Blues Festival. You can see more of her work at farberfoto.com

Bits & Pieces

....Jazz Jamaica featured in May issue of Jazzwise (UK);
....Joe Harriott quintet subject of discussion on
All About Jazz.com Artists & Bands thread;

....sax man Houston Person breezed in and out
of Kingston for start of Ocho Rios Jazz;


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Jimmy Sommers interview

I'll be interviewing saxophonist Jimmy Sommers sometime today,
ahead of his scheduled weekend tour (June 16-19). will post
text of the interview by latest Friday, so watch for it.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ranglin Goes "Surfin'"

Jazz guitar maestro Ernie Ranglin's latest,
on the Telarc label, is entitled Surfin'.
Musically, it follows on his previous releases,
Modern Answers to Old Problems and his guest
spot on labelmate Monty Alexander's Rocksteady
album. Surfin' recorded at Tuff Gong studios,
features the likes of Dean Frazer, Mikey Fletcher,
Derrick Stewart and Paul Kastick and includes
Ranglin's take on the Delroy Wilson rockstady classic,
Dancing Mood

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Future of Jamaican Jazz

This coming Friday, May 27, seniors from
the Jazz dept. of the Music School
at the Edna Manley College of the
Performing Arts, under the gudiance
of Ibo Cooper and Maurice Gordon will
stage a concert at the College Music
Hall beginnign at 7:00 p.m. Several
top musical guests will also be featured

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ocho Rios Jazz officially On

The 15th annual Ocho Rios jamaica jazz Festival was officially launched on Thursday night at the jamaica pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

Activities wil kick off on June 1 at Kingston's Emancipation park (right across the street0 with a free concert featuring sax man Houston Person and guitarist Maurice Gordon &friends.

Jazz Fest will also include South Coast party at Treasur Beach, a jazz an poetry session at Weekenz in Kingston, jazz lunch atthe Starapples Restaurant and jazz n blues nites at red Bones and the University of Technology (UTECH).

Ocho Rios and environs is, of course the main focal point and will host a range of free and paid events at various spots, including the faith's pen Rest Stop (along main highway between Kingston and North Coast), Runaway bay (Super Clubs' Breezes Hotel) and the climax at the Almond Tree Restaurnat and gardens

check ochoriosjazz.com for current artist lineups and other details

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

More from St. Lucia

14th St. Lucia jaz is now history. UB40 closed Sunday
night with satisfying if unspectacular set taking in
their 25 years asa reggae band (unchanged core lineup)
before them, Chris Botti, w/ Billy Kilson on drums Mark Schulman
on guitar, Federico Pena on piano and Jon Osmond on bass
delivered tight set focussing on his latest release, "When I Fall in Love"

Earl Klugh wasalso stirring, as was Dave Koz and his band the previous
afternoon. Audience-wise, Saturday's show belonged to
American Idol Fantasia Barreno. Showed great confidence
and crowd -esp. ladies - lapped up every bit of her
"Independent Woman" schtick.

The Isleys, featuring Ron Isley looked and sounded good
(Ron recently recovered from a stroke) but set was a bit
shorter and not quite as intense as previously (they headlined
a mother's Day bill in Kingston about 2 years ago).

Also notable: local boy roots sax stylist Rob "Zi" Taylor and
vocalist Tracy Hamlin who opened on Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ravi, Riley and NE

From St. Lucia - saw Ravi Coltrane Quartet - Coltrane -saxes;
Luis Perdomo - p; Drew Gress-b ; E.J. Strickland -d at The
Gaiety Theatre last nite- awesome!!
Also real good ben Riley's Monk legacy septet -
four horns, bass, elec. guitar and Riley behind the kit -
very good esp. Peter Washington on bass, Wayne Escoffrey
on sax (tenor) and freddy Bryant on guitar

later, caught R&B proto-boy band new Edition
(sans Bobby, of course) out at the Pigeon Island facility
- great energy as they weaved back and forth through
their catalog (can't believe its over 20 years since "Candy Girl").

Tonite - more R&b with the Isleys and Am. Idol phenom Fantasia

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Jimmy Sommers jams in Jamaica

In the midst of the buzz on the upcoming Ocho Rios
jazz fest comes word of yet another renowned overseas
jazz artist to visit our shores for the Father's Day weekend.

Rising saxophone star Jimmy Sommers has joined with
CARGO Magazine and the prestigious Appleton Estate V/X
Jamaica Rum www.appletonrumus.com brand to perform a
series of concerts coined "An Evening Escape with Jimmy Sommers."

Appleton is a fine aged Jamaican rum produced by J. Wray & Nephew,
proprietor of the Appleton Estate, where rum has been distilled
and hand blended since 1749. "An Evening Escape With Jimmy Sommers"
is a 28-city, 2-year National tour promoted and managed by the Glasure Group www.glasuregroup.com, a marketing and public relations firm based in St. Petersburg, FL.

Monday, May 02, 2005

St. Lucia Bound

Jazzofonik will be off to St. Lucia as of Fri. May 6
to catch the sounds and sights of the annual
St. Lucia jazz festival.

We return on May 10 with a full report
technology permitting I'll also post
from the festival itself.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"MayDay" for Jazz in the Gardens

The next Jazz in the Gardens live outing happens May 1,
at the Pegasus hotel lawn with the excellent St. Lucian
composer-instrumentalist Helen Cadette headlining the show.
Cadette, who plays tenor sax and piano, wowed audiences
earlier tis year at the Jazz on the Green event - her
first Jamaican performance.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jazzofonik Live moves closer to relaity

The Jazzofonik Live series of concerts (Itzajazzthing!)
is scheduled to begin May 25 at The Deck in Kingston.
Showtime is set for 9:00 p.m.
Watch this space for artiste listing

Ocho rios Jazz line-up

The 15th annual Ocho Rios jazz festival runs from
June 12 through 19. Following is the latest line-up.
In addition to jazzofonik, You can go to ochoriosjazz.com
for regular updates and details on artists and events:


* Batie - Saxophonist
* Ken Yamazaki - Drums Japan
* Rudresh Mahanthappa - Alto Sax
* Byard Lancaster - Saxes & Flute
* Ginetta's Vendetta Quartet
* Joe Sizemore - Overboard
* Peter Dames Blues Duo - Piano & Bass
* California Antelope Valley Big Band
* Eric Alexander Quartet
* Houston Person Quartet
* Nnenna Ogwo - Classical Piano


* Ernie Ranglin Trio/Guitar Choir
* Pam Hall - Female Voc.
* Jamaica Big Band - Sonny Bradshaw, Myrna Hague, Marjorie Whylie, Desi Jones, Dwight Richards
* Wives & Lovers;
Karen Smith & Jackie Jackson
Sonny & Myrna Bradshaw
Christene Fisher & Alex Blanken
Cindy Breakspear & Rupert Bent
Bev Dexter & Noel Dexter
Pauline Watson & Curtis Watson
* Mark Pritchett Blues
* Errol & Ian Hird Bebop Group
* Dean Fraser Group
* Tony Gregory - Male Vocal
* Mari Isaacs - Female Vocals
* Fab 5 Inc.
* Errol Lee Bare Essentials
* Yardbeat Ska
* Mickey Hanson After Six Ska
* Jamaica Lou Rawls
* Maurice Gordon Jazz

Friday, April 15, 2005

Weekenz out

The jazz spin series, Blu Mondayz at
Weekenz has been cancelled until
further notice (really until the
Weekenz team gets their act 2gether)

Weekly spin continues at The Deck
with new developments to come

Red Bones on a Roll

Red Bones the blues cafe continues to
step up its live offerings. In recent
weeks, the restaurant/open air lounge
has played hostto guitarist Seretse Small
and to neo-soul combo Airplai.

Tonight the trend contiunes with the
return of blues/rock outfit White Zebra
withthe triple-axe attack of mark Pritchett
(formerly with David Bowie), Wayne McGregor,
Dale Brown on bass and Richie Cunningham on

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Seretse at Red Bones

Even as he continues his role as producer
(and sometime player) of the monthly live
series a Weekenz, guitarist Seretse Small
embarks on another regular gig - this time
at the Red Bones Blues cafe. Small plays
the well-known eatery and jaz/blues haunt
each Friday beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, Jazzofonik @ Weekendz
begins Monday, April 11, under the
tag Blu Mondayz at Weekenz.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Recommended discs

The following- a mixed bag of
new and recent recordings - are
highly recommended:

Roberto Magris Europlane - Check-In
Soul Note/Balck Saint
(watch this space for my reiview)

John Williams - A Time To Build
Almond Productions/Caribbean Gospel

Seretse Small - Silo Sessions
Griot Music


Williams Wows at Weekenz

Virtuosos Jon Williams (keyboard and elec. violin)
joined by a stelar cast of musicians and singers,
wowed a lamentably small Easter Sunday audience
at the Weekenz Bar & Bistro. Backed up by Alex
Martin-Blanken on keyboards, Dale Brown on (elec.)bass
and Deleon "jubba" White on drums and several
guest vocalists (Rovleta Fraser, Fleurine,
Andrew Casanova, Andrew lawrence), Williams
delivered an engaging mix of secular and spiritual
tunes, from Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" to
his own "My Lord is Sweet".

the show was the second in a series organized
by musician and publisher Seretse Small.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Jon Williams at Weekenz

Just in time for Easter, multi-instrumentalist and producer
Jon Williams brings his inspired and inspirational
stylings to the Weekenz Bistro and Bar in Kingston
Sunday, March 27, beginnign at 7:00p.m. J$800.00
pre-sold; $1000 at the gate email
weekenz@cwjamaica.com for other details

Jazzofonik Live

The Jazzofonik X-perience Live comes to Kingston lounge
the Deck, beginning Wednesday, May 25. watch this space
for artist roster as well as for news on Jazzofonik Mondayz
at Weekenz Bistro.

in the meantime, the Jazzofonik X-perience continues the
jazz spin at the Deck each Wednesday, at the Deck, with
the best in recorded jazz, the blues and beyond by
Mikey Blu, Chiggy and Michael 'My Way" Williams
email bluriter@yahoo.com for details

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Violin Trio

A budding master on the violin with an affinity for
Latin as well as roots reggae and other Caribbean
sounds, Kingsley de Passe leads a sprightly trio,
supported by cousin Andrew on percussion and Robert
Grant on keyboards. The group has two regular gigs at
present, appearing every Saturday through the month
of March at D' Roof Restaurant & Lounge, and a
regular Monday night gig- focussing on Brazilian
selections atthe Hilton Kingston poolside.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Ocho Rios jazz line up

Just peeped the lineup for 2005 (15th Anniversary) Ocho Rios jazz festival. Amongthe new faces this year is altoist Ruddresh Mahantappa, who was subject of recent feature in jazz Times magazine (www.jazztimes.com)

returning are tenor man Eric Alexnader, whose new album Dead Centre, is figuring at or near the top of several jazz charts, veteran Houston Person and one of the finds from last year, NYC vocalist and pocket trumpet act Ginetta's Vendetta

Thursday, March 10, 2005

CD Recommendations

The following have recently (over the last 8-10 weeks)
come into my possession and are highly recommended:

Lea Delaria - Double Standards (Telarc);
Dave Holland Big Band - overtime (Dare2 Records);
Caribbean Jazz Project - Here & Now Live in Concert
(Concord Jazz ) - this is a 2-disc set;

Jason Moran - Same Mother (Blue Note)

Sakesho- We Want You To Say..... (Heads Up)

Ravi Coltrane - In Flux (Savoy Jazz)

Telarc - www.telarc.com;
Dare2records - www.sunnysiderecords.com;
Concord jazz - www.concordjazz.com
Blue Note - www.bluenote.com;
heads Up - www.headsup.com

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Smithsonian Jazz

The link for Jazz Appreciation Month is smithsonianjazz.org.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month [US]

The Smithsonian Institute is for
the fourth year, earmarking April as
Jazz Appreciation Month. legendary
pianist Herbie Hancock spoke at the
recent official launch. A number
of activities, including concerts,
are planned throughout the

Locally, June is the traditonal
Jazz Month, withthe annual Ocho
Rios International jazz fest
taking up the Father's Day week
(second week in June, 11-19)
with auxilliary activities in
Kingston and the South Coast.

Go to www.ochoriosjazz.com for more
on this fest, and see www.smithsonian.org and
click on Smithsonian Jazz for details
on Jazz Appreciation

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Jazz on the Green review

After the largely jazz-free Air Jamaica
jazz and Blues festival (mostly blues-free too)
its a delightto attend a show that offered a
huge helping of jazz from a variety of artists -
and a smattering of (well played) blues.
Put on by Rotary Club at the upscale home of
one of its members- the well attended, well-organized
event saw some greta performances from saxophonists
Ian and Errol Hird, multi--instrumentalist (and vocalist) Barabra Cadet,
keyboardist Kathy Brown and guitar maestro Ernie Ranglin -
not to mention "pure" singers karen Smith and Sabrina Williams

and the various supporting musicians (Jon Williams, Rupert
bent Sr., Sherwayne Thompson, Dale Brown and Deleon White)

the blues was also represented by mark Pritchett,
showing his best form since he made the move to Jamaica
Print/marketing boss mark was ontime guitarist for David Bowie
but favours the stylings of the Kings (B.B. and Albert)
Santana. Mark is now - along with Dale Brown, part of
jam band called Black Zebra (?)

In truth, the ill may well have been too heavily stacked
for a non-holiday Sunday evening, but I enjoyed stuffing
my musical palette anyway (Ernie is evergreen)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jazz in the Gardens

The first (bi-monthly) Jazz in the Gardens showcase for 2005 takes place atthe usual venue, the rear courtyard of the Jamaica pegasus Hotel in Kingston. Artists featured included barbadian Rosemary Phillips, Anglo-jamaican vocalist Diomara and Jazz in the Gardens staple Harold Davis & Friends Links

Ranglin On A Roll

Guitar legend Ernie Ranglin has been on a bit of performance tear. On Saturday last he gave a benefit perfomance at the Pizzaman restaurant in Ocho Rios and then on Valentine's Night he shared the bill with Dr. kathy Brown at a special show atthe Ruins, UWI. This weekend, he's the special guest atthe annual jazz on the Green showcase in the upscale kingston suburb of Cherry Gardens, alongisde kathy Brown, Rupert Bent Sr., and others. see www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle for review of Valentine's show

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

ferrer foto

ferrer foto
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
to accompany the recent Cuban music post here is cover of Ferrer's album

Musica de Cuba

got an interesting -mail about Cuban musician Pedro Luis Ferrer,
whose new album, Rustico has just been released on the
Escondida label. Go to www.rockpaperscissors.biz/go/pedro
to check out the CD and get photos and more info

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Air J Jazz Review

Its been eons since my last post, so I return this week with a review of the recently concluded Air J jazz & Blues fest. My good buddy Chris Porter - editor of JazzTimes - posted this on the mag's website and since i couldn't have said it better myself, its included here for you to make your own judgements

What if you received a last-minute invite to cover a jazz and blues festival for a jazz magazine and there’s pretty much no jazz or blues on the bill? That may sound like a Zen-like question, but there’s a simple answer: If it’s late January, the temperature’s colder than a well-digger’s ass and there’s snow everywhere, you buck up and say, "I’d love to!" (Luckily, I adore Jamaican music and have a high-tolerance for 1970s pop.)

The Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival has always catered to catholic tastes, while leaning heavily on R&B acts, but it would also present musicians who are traditionally considered mainstream jazz artists (last year that included Monty Alexander and Cassandra Wilson). This year, however, the promoters from Turn Key Productions focused almost entirely on adult-oriented pop.

Because of the fest’s new focus, the catchphrase "The Art of Music" was added, and it’s likely that an overall name change will happen for next year. But it’s hard to blame the folks who put on this show for sticking with this formula rather than trying to wedge in jazz acts. Why? Because the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival was packed all three days, as were Montego Bay’s sold-out hotels. And the people who attended the fest---almost all Jamaicans---simply loved the music they heard, jazz or not.


Pocket Band, vocalist Toni Norville and trumpeter Dwight Richards, who was playing Chuck Mangione’s "Feels So Good" when I hit the festival grounds, kicked off the evening, though not many people were on hand to hear them due to the threat of rain.

Bajan saxophonist Arturo Tappin came out next, and he played up his strengths---good looks, Cheez Whiz sound---in a set of songs that big-upped Grover Washington Jr. (a dreamy "Winelight") and Jamaica’s jazz-ska pioneers the Skatalites (a laidback take on "Eastern Standard Time"). About midway through his set the skies opened up, so I joined my journalist colleagues and retreated to the happening hospitality tent sponsored by Digicel Jamaica, an Ireland-based, Caribbean-blanketing cell-phone company that knows a thing or two about public relations.

As the rain cleared up, Roberta Flack, who once lived in Jamaica, came on stage to a tremendous roar. Since some of Flack’s most popular work was in duet with Donny Hathaway (who died in 1979), she was joined by the muscle-bound singer Tony Terry (who drove the crowd’s women wild) for "The Closer I Get to You" and "Where Is the Love?" as well as her duet smash with Peabo Bryson, "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love." Flack played piano a bit, as on "Killing Me Softly" and "Feel Like Making Love," but otherwise prowled the stage with microphone in hand, her revealing, sparkling purple shirt threatening to spring open like rain clouds up above.

Lou Rawls was also resplendent in purple, and his polished set meant medley after medley of chart-toppers such as "Groovy People," "Natural Man," "See You When I Get There," "You're Gonna Miss My Lovin'" and "Lady Love" (the last a personal fave of mine and anchorman Ron Burgundy). While there were no surprises from Rawls, he’s a wonderful entertainer and his baritone voice is in tremendous shape. The audience, singing along to every song at the top of their lungs, ate it up.

Opening-night closers Third World are known as the "Reggae Ambassadors," and it’s true that over the past 30 years they’ve managed to score numerous chart hits by assimilating disco, R&B and funk into their reggae mix. But when playing live Third World stays close to its roots, which means performing classics such as "Reggae Ambassador," "Reggae Party," "Now That We've Found Love," "Try Jah Love" and "Forbidden Love" (amorous band, them) and engaging in a surprise duet with Toots Hibbert on Bob Marley’s "Lively Up Yourself." But because Third World’s conservatory-trained musicians are anything but ordinary, they often extended the tunes with impressive improvisations and dubbed-out grooves. Steven "Cat" Coore is a virtuoso guitarist, displaying flamenco influences on his acoustic and psychedelic rock on his electric, especially on the band’s greatest hit, "96 Degrees" (about the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion). When Coore brought out his electric cello and tore down the house during an encore of "Rastaman Chant" it just seemed like he was showing off---which is a very good thing.


Definitely the weakest night of the festival, I could have gone the entirety of Friday without seeing a headlining performance and still felt like I hadn’t missed anything. Luckily I did hang around, which allowed me to see, on stage left, a 30-foot scaffolding supporting several giant speakers buckle, bend and lean precariously. Thankfully, it did not collapse. There was but one announcement to the crowd about what was happening, and that happened about a half-hour into the near-disaster. It took more than two hours to get the scaffolding righted and secured, but the audience was surprisingly blasé about the delay.

The show finally resumed at 1:45 a.m. (45 minutes after the whole evening was supposed to have ended), but the momentum was lost. Boyz II Men, who are now three not four, performed a forgettable set backed by prerecorded tunes. ("They come all the way here and sing to tracks?" asked an incredulous Michael A. Edwards of the Jamaica Observer.) While the audience loved the music and had obviously waited a long time to hear the Boyz' four-part (er, I mean three-part) harmonies, there’s no denying that the group is about this far away from being a Vegas or Disney stage act.

Julio Iglesias played a set heavy on Spanish-language tunes broadcast by a faulty P.A., pretty much guaranteeing that he had a steady stream of exhausted people leaving the venue throughout his performance, which finally finished at 3:45 a.m.

Other international headliners on Friday included the Cuban dance band Azucar Negra and smooth-jazz harpist Roberto Parrera of Paraguay, but the highlights of the evening were from the local talent.

The multitalented Dr. Kathy Brown---a physician and music teacher in Kingston during the day, a jazz and reggae pianist at night---played a really fun but too-short set, mostly consisting of standards such as "Caravan" and "Afro Blue."

Robert "Dubwise" Browne, the son of legendary reggae bassist Glen Browne, wowed the crowed with his Hendrix-ian ax slinging and charismatic stage presence. Dubwise has played with everyone from jazz pianist Monty Alexander to dancehall deejay Shaggy, and his music touched on elements from many genres.

Throughout the night the biggest buzz was happening in the Digicel tent, especially during the scaffolding delay and the sporadic rainfall. The Black Zebra Band, featuring guitarists and singers Wayne McGregor and Mark Pritchett (managing director of the Jamaica Observer) kept the crowd happy---including, for a spell, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson---by performing loosey-goosey versions of everything from Willie Dixon's "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" to the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" and Radiohead’s "Creep"---not the first tunes you expect to hear from a "bar band" in Jamaica.


The final night featured by far and away the best lineup, boasting Norah Jones, Toots & the Maytals, Dionne Warwick, Rosanne Cash, Abdel Wright, To-Isis and VC. The only mistake was ending the show with Jones, whose sleepytime music was a major letdown following crowd favorite Warwick and the electrifying Toots Hibbert. Jones should have performed midway through the evening, just after the equally sedate Rosanne Cash, whose father Johnny lived in a hilltop mansion that can be seen from the festival grounds.

The evening’s opening acts---singer VC and six-member vocal group To-Isis---demonstrated the strong tradition of soulful crooning in Jamaican music. Valton "VC" Craigie has the strong voice of an R&B balladeer, but he sings roots reggae. He performed several original, conscious tunes, such as "Gwaan," "Roughneck" and "By His Deeds," the last of which was a big hit in Jamaica a few years back as proven by the crowd passionately singing along. Unfortunately VC has yet to put out a full-length CD, but here’s hoping it happens soon.

To-Isis’ performance is one of the reasons why Boyz II Men’s show seemed even weaker a day later. This young vocal sextet can nail harmonies with envious ease, and their exuberant stage show engaged the early-evening audience. Like VC, they shared the same backing band, who easily ran through Bob Marley numbers and reggae-fied versions of pop tunes, such as Bryan Adams’ goopy "Heaven"---which was actually pretty darn good thanks to the lead tenor pipes of Richard Morgan (or perhaps it was twin bro Robert). A Jamaican boy band, sure---the guys double as models and actors---but To-Isis has the singing talent to break out to a large audience outside of their homeland.

Abdel Wright (shown in photo at top) is a hotly tipped Jamaican singer-songwriter, and his long-delayed debut CD is scheduled for release this spring. Inspired by Tracy Chapman and Johnny Cash as much as by Bob Marley, Wright’s heartfelt tunes reflect his difficult upbringing in an SOS Children’s home, his rehabilitating stint in prison and his deep spirituality. Offstage Wright is charming, funny and engaging, but the two previous times I saw him perform he was deadly serious onstage. Granted, he was touring small rock clubs in the U.S. and, though he was warmly received, nobody knew who he was, so perhaps it was just nerves then. But at home in Jamaica, Wright was very relaxed, and his winning performance reflected that.

Wright’s portion of the show began with technical difficulties---there was no sound for several minutes---but he just cracked jokes about it while strumming his guitar. When his instrument's level was finally raised, Wright told the crowd to "clap ya self" for being patient this night as well as during the scaffolding crisis. He then noted with a laugh that if this were Sting, the raucous dancehall music event in Kingston, he would have had to dodge "missiles" from the notoriously confrontational crowd.

Joined by a percussionist on cajon, Wright played acoustic guitar and harmonica like a folk troubadour. The duo ran through tunes off Wright’s self-titled debut, such as "Quicksand," "Ruffest Times" and "Babylon Wall" (a stirring anti-war protest), but the biggest response was for their version of Marley’s "Redemption Song," which had the entire audience singing along.

After a lackluster performance by Roseanne Cash---people just didn’t know her songs---Dionne Warwick came out and did a set brimming with classic tunes that her fans responded to with glee. Even when Warwick introduced a slightly crass and too-long commercial for her 40th anniversary tour program ("Buy one as you leave!"), the audience merely chuckled. It’s tough to lose a crowd with classic songs such as "Walk on By," "Heartbreaker," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?," "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again," "What the World Needs Now" and "That's What Friends Are For," to name but a few of the hits that Warwick and her band breezed through.

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert is a giant of Jamaican music, with his 1968 hit "Do the Reggay" providing the now-modified name of a sound that is known the world over. While he’s getting more than a little thick around the midsection (hey, who isn’t?), Toots is still a tireless performer, and his concert was the highlight of the festival. He leads his band like James Brown, cueing them for explosive accents and encouraging them to kick out the jams during extended sections, which he enthusiastically danced to or joined in on by playing keyboards.

Toots and the Maytals have been touring the world in support of their Grammy-nominated CD True Love, which features remakes of classic material in duet with singers from country and blues (Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck, Willie Nelson), rock (Gwen Stefani, Keith Richards, Ryan Adams) and reggae (Shaggy, Ken Booth, Bunny Wailer), so they were a tight unit. The hits, and the energy, never stopped: "Come Down," "Pressure Drop," "Sweet and Dandy," "Bam Bam," "Country Road" ("take me home / to the place / where I belong / West Jamaica"), "These Arms of Mine," "Still Movin'," "Monkey Man" and the set closer "54-46 (Was My Number)," which was all but reduced to the chorus and a vamp---all the better for droppin’ legs.

Just as Toots was finishing a rain began to fall. It lasted through the early part of Norah Jones’ performance, which further hampered her soggy set. It’s not that Jones’ concert was bad; it just felt severely out of place following Toots, especially at two in the morning. The crowd that stayed got to hear radio hits "Don’t Know Why" and "Sunrise," and they were thankful for that, but there was also a large number folks who had peaked with Toots and were ready to go to bed on a high (literally and figuratively).

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Kenny garrett levels Barbados Jazz

Kenny Garrett Brings Big Thunder to 2005 Barbados Jazz Festival
from Allaboutjazz.com

By Bill King

“If there were one defining performance that can be certified jazz and most memorable it would be the blistering session saxophonist Kenny Garrett levelled the landscape with.”

Day five, the much anticipated Alicia Keys performance was a dressy affair. Tickets sold for $120 a p

If there was one defining performance that can be certified jazz and most memorable it would be the blistering session saxophonist Kenny Garrett leveled the landscape with. Garrett plays for keeps. With Carlos McKinney at the keyboard, Chris Bond bass and Ron Bruner firing on all cylinders behind the kit - Garrett and company spanked the crowd with a fierce opener played at top speed. Ideas spilled from all directions many colliding and dispersing into fragments. Garrett knows how to entertain. Hip-hop is no sideline with the wizard as he goaded the audience into a good time call and response on the “Tick Tock Tune.” Garrett never lacerated the ears with the relentless screeching many smooth jazz saxophonists prefer. Instead, there was a method to his improvisations - there were peaks and valleys - conflict and resolution. Drummer Ron Bruner was the perfect foil. Bruner can stir more interest and heat with a repetitive rhythmic figure than most certified drum Gods. The pulse was most hypnotic causing Garrett to keep the sing along moving absent any clue to when and how it would conclude. The effect was mesmerizing. Even when the ninety-minute performance was assured and nearing the end, Garrett and Bruner drove the beat even harder.

Photo Credit
Bill King

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Air jazz Update - Ticket prices


Thursday, January 27th -   US$  45.00

Friday, January 28th -     US$  50.00

Saturday, January 29th -   US$  50.00

Season ticket: all 3 days US$135.00

Two day pass   Fri & Sat   US$  95.00

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Nicole's Sun Is Rising

With her debut CD,The Nearness of You reaching the #2
spot for five weeks and staying in the Top 10 for
over five months on the Vocal Jazz Charts in Japan,
Banister Records artist Nicole Henry, who performed
in Jamaica this past August (at the Royal Plantation
in Ocho Rios), earned the “Best New Artist award
in the retail chain HMV Japan Jazz Awards 2004.
The artist gave much thanks goes to her partnering
label, Norma Music, who imported The Nearness of You,
and to all her fans in Japan!!
Henry has also been inivted to record with the
Eddie Higgins Trio, another album "Teach Me Tonight"
will be released in Japan this March on Venus Records. 
This set was produced in NYC by Todd Barkan and Tetsuo Hara,
shortly following the artiste's performance in the Allen Room
at the new Jazz at the Lincoln Center. The release will pre-empt
her April tour of Japan with the Eddie Higgins Trio.
Nicole will spend the next few months working on another
CD for Banister Records, expected for a summer release
in the U.S. and abroad!!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Air J Jazz - Media Launch

The media launch for this year's event takes place on Thursday, January 13, at Red Bones, the Blues Cafe, Braemar Avenue, in New Kingston

Mickey & Co. Do Bossa at The Deck

Trumpeter Mickey Hanson and his band laid down a nice set of mostly bossa nova -type arrangements at The Deck alst Thursday. Hanson, along with Mallory Willams on keyboard; Larry Silvera on base, Richie Cunningham on percussion and Andrew Jackson on drums started kind of safe with a cover of 'How Could I Live" a song made famous by late reggae star Denis Brown, and "Rise" by Herb Alpert.

Set got proressively bette thereafter, with stirring renditions of Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" Jobim's "Desafinado" "I'll Drink to That Blues" and closed in rousing fashion with free-wheeling versions of "Maputo" and "Mas Que Nada"

Also on the bill were singer-guitarist Charmaine, and 70s pop-reggae hitmaker Pluto Shervington.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Zanzibar fest

Just got this email this morning.
Sounds interesting.

Greetings from Zanzibar and we hope that this note finds you all well.
By popular demand, here is an update for the many of you traveling to Zanzibar for Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) Swahili Music Festival, taking place Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th February, 2005.
The main venue for this year’s festival is again in historic Stone Town: the grassy side of Zanzibar’s Old Fort (“Mambo Club”) facing Forodhani Gardens and overlooking the Indian Ocean. Fittingly described by Ian Anderson in fROOTS magazine as “the big club venue most world music festival organisers would die for”. Freshly grilled prawns, octopus, squid, fish kebabs are all prepared on site, with a bar and stalls selling local crafts.
The main aim of the festival is to showcase the wealth and diversity of Swahili music and we are proud to announce that many of East Africa’s finest groups are confirmed to participate:
DANCE / GUITAR BANDS: Kilimanjaro Band (“Wananjenje”), Zanzibar Moonlight Jazz Band
MUSIC FUSION: Saida Karoli, Manyani Nani, Sisi Tambala
HIPHOP AND URBAN MUSIC: Juma Nature & Wanaume, Wazenji Kijiwe, Klear Kut, Stara Thomas, Solo Thang, BTB, DJ Saleh
TAARAB & KIDUMBAK: Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Malindi Taarab), Culture Musical Club, Segere Original, Sosoliso Kidumbak, Zein l’Abdin Trio, DCMA Student Group
NGOMA & TRADITIONAL MUSIC: Bi Kidude, Chibite Group, Beni ya Kilua, Black Roots, Jagwa Music (Mchiriku), Hiyari ya Moyowo (Kirumbizi), Imani Ngoma, Matimba Arts, Ngoma ya Kibati, Kidutani & Jang’ombe Nursery Schools
RELIGIOUS SUFI MUSIC: Maulidi ya Homu ya Mtendeni
THEATRE, COMEDY, ACROBATICS: Jambo Brothers, Halikuniki Comedy Group
El Tanbura Group (Egypt), Seiyun Popular Arts (Yemen), Imena (Rwanda), Ndeef Leng (Senegal), Pamuzinda (Zimbabwe)
(final festival programme pending 100% confirmations will be published end of January)
Guest of Honour for 2005 Festival is Bi Kidude, Zanzibar’s 93-year old cultural ambassador, traditional healer and bare-foot diva of taarab and unyago ngoma, who has been traveling the world to sing, drum and entertain since the 1920s.
Free admission to all before 8pm daily (standing room only)
After 8pm, residents 500/-TSh (US$0.50) (standing room only)
After 8pm, non-residents 1,000/- TSh (US $1) (standing room only)
VIP Daily Pass 5,000/- (US $5) (with seating)
VIP All Festival Pass (4 Days) 10,000/- (US $10) (with seating)
On Stone Town Zanzibar: “The pace of life is gentle, time itself seems flexible, and a combination of the surroundings and a very low level of trading hassle from genuinely friendly locals turn it into the most relaxing, stress-reducing place I've ever encountered. Turn off your mobile phone: this town should be available on the National Health”.
Ian Anderson, fROOTS Magazine
Welcome to Zanzibar for the friendliest music festival on Planet Earth!
10 – 13 February, 2005 – Sauti za Busara Festival #2
09 – 12 February, 2006 – Sauti za Busara Festival #3
Full line up, timetable of performances, more information for press/media including pictures of many of the performing artists available on request.
Hotels are filling up fast for this period so be sure to book quickly if you need accommodation in Stone Town within walking distance of the Festival. For assistance with hotel bookings, local travel and tours contact zenjtours@zanlink.com (cc to busara@zanlink.com)
SAUTI ZA BUSARA is organised by Busara Promotions - a non-governmental, non-political, non-profit cultural organisation registered in Zanzibar “to promote and develop opportunities for local and international music and performing artists within the East African region, work to strengthen the local arts infrastructure and build networks internationally, for the social, cultural and economic growth of Africa and the dhow region”.
Busara Promotions extends thanks to the following without whom the Festival would not be possible:
Ford Foundation, HIVOS, Mfuko wa Utamaduni Tanzania, Embassy of France,
Dhow Countries Music Academy, Memories of Zanzibar, fROOTS Magazine, Afropop Worldwide, Zanzibar Gallery, Zenj Travel & Tours, Alliance Francaise, Emerson & Green Hotel, Kidude Cafe, Countrywide Destination Tanzania, thephatplanet.com, and most of all to the people of Zanzibar: “Shukurani kwa kukubali kuwa tamasha hili ni letu sote na mchango wenu ndio ambao umelifanikisha.”

Air ja Jazz update

This year, Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues will showcase upcoming artistes
on a special stage located in the food court.  Performances will
commence when the main stage breaks for band changes, giving patrons
of The Festival the opportunity to enjoy these new artistes.

 Here is the Line Up for the showcase stage:

Thursday January 27th

Wide Grin


C Sharp

Friday January 28th

Rootz Underground

Wayne McGregor

Kathy Brown


Saturday January 29th

To Isis

Christine Fisher


While certainly obscure & unknown from an int'l standpoint, at least these artists should help to relieve the severe jazz deficiency in the main lineup