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Friday, December 29, 2006

'Jubba' jams at the Quad

Drummer Deleon 'Jubba' White returns with a combo to Christopher's Jazz
lounge in the Quad come Tuesday, Jan 2, to resume the Tuesday Nite Live
series for 2007. The show begins at 7pm
This will be 'Jubba's ' third stint at the Christopher's since the series
started in August this year.
The series has been attracting a growing number of music
aficionados and White has proven among the more popular
featured acts.

'Jubba' jams at the Quad

Drummer Deleon 'Jubba' White returns with a combo to Christopher's Jazz
lounge in the Quad come Tuesday, Jan 2, to resume the Tuesday Nite Live
series for 2007. The show begins at 7pm
This will be 'Jubba's ' third stint at the Christopher's since the series
started in August this year.
The series has been attracting a growing number of music
aficionados and White has proven among the more popular
featured acts.


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Following on from the Tony Kofi discovery, I came across the website of UK bassist Steve lawson (left) jamming alongside Cleveland Watkiss. Anglo-jazz, with Afro-Caribbean input, is alive and well.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tony Kofi DSC_0240a

Tony Kofi DSC_0240a
Originally uploaded by richardkaby.
Just heard him on radio a few nights ago (thanks again, Dermot Hussey) and now I come across this.

Courtney Pine DSC_0118ab

Courtney Pine DSC_0118ab
Originally uploaded by richardkaby.
from (I asume) Brit Rchard kaby comes this great shot of Courtney Pine 'blowing up'

Monday, December 11, 2006

Seretse in Studio

Guitarist Seretse Small and his combo, Seretse and the True Democrats
have been work on a number of recording projects, one being a track
entitled Freedom.
Seretse and the True Democrats are also the featured act on the Tuesday
Nite live at Christopher's Jazz bar in the Quad complex New Kingston
beginning at 7:00 pm tomorrow night

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fusion, jazzi nthe round and more

Jazz Notes

Fusion and the age-old question


    NOT that the initial lineup could justify the tag (with apologies to Monty Alexander), but the recent additions to the roster of the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival — particularly vibist Roy Ayers — have led this writer to reconsider the question of jazz fusion.
    Some in fact consider the term to be an oxymoron since, as we have learnt in this column, jazz was, from its very earliest times, the product of several musical styles, reflective of the diverse ethnocultural influences that came to bear on its home city, New Orleans.
    But in the contemporary sense, fusion concerns primarily the introduction of r&b, rock, funk, reggae and other styles to either bebop or classic swing structures.
    Of course herein lies much of the problem, given our penchant for resorting to the clear order and inherent safety of classifications.
    Over the last 40 years or so as recorded music aired on radio and other formats have become a greater influence on public taste than live performances, the swing and bebop (and hardbop) movements which dominated the genre in the first half of the 20th Century have increasingly been sidelined. This is not to say that they are no longer appreciated or even being played — far from it. But there’s no question that mainstream broadcast media programmers find these modes either unpalatable or at least less palatable (and thereby less profitable) than those which feature the more recognisable pop elements.
    The emergence of the terms ‘smooth’, ‘light’, ‘easy listening’ and other similar palliatives — mostly if not exclusively the creations of radio programmers and owners, affirms this. Thus the impression is conveyed and enforced that the bop and swing styles represent “hard jazz”, a term implying that such music is too harsh to the ear. Indeed, many persons this writer has talked to have expressed that exact sentiment, even though the overwhelming majority of them have had little, if any, sustained exposure to so-called ‘hard jazz’.
    The answer lies in exploiting the channels to provide this sustained exposure and beyond that, in creating new ones. Mention has already been made of the former Radio Mona, now News Talk 93, but even in its best periods, it was not, and now definitely is not, a jazz station. Jazz needs a home on radio (and at least on local cable TV, if not free-toair) in same way that endangered animal species need the designated habitats. Further, a walk through Half-Way-Tree or most urban communities will find a sound system (makeshift and illegal, yes) set up at several corners and other points blaring dancehall and roots reggae. I’m not advocating streetside jazz sounds (or maybe it mightn’t be a bad idea) but the music needs to be a part of the daily public experience, otherwise it will continue to be ignored and sidelined, instead of appreciated and renewed, regardless of what genre it is blended with.
    Sonny Rollins said: “Jazz is the only music form that can absorb just about anything else and still be jazz.”
    By keeping the music in the public arena, we can allow that philosophy to be tested, to our collective benefit.
Jazz is back in the Round
    Got wind from the EMC’s Maurice Gordon about the renewal of jazz in the Round programme at the school.
    Jazz in the Round 2K6 is the end of first semester concert and it takes place this coming Friday, December 8, 2006 beginning at 7:30 pm in the Round at the School of Music (right outside the auditorium. The featured performers will be Gordon’s second year Certificate and Diploma Jazz Improvisation students.
    “This is a concert to showcase and examine the talent and efforts of all students involved in the study of jazz and improvisation at The School of Music/Edna Manley College,” he points out. The concert will feature several groups performing in Piano Trios or Quartets with the addition of singers and other instruments. Students will be evaluated by Gordon and a panel. They will be graded on their ability to swing, spontaneously create music, and to perform with some authenticity in the idioms studied.
    Jazz Improvisation, as taught by jazz guitarist and lecturer Gordon at School of Music, involves the study of improvising over a variety of jazz styles and related music which is performed in the context of jazz. The students study the technique of improvisation and learn a common repertoire to help prepare them for the working world. Gordon uses various musical styles as a vehicle for improvisation, these include mento, reggae, blues, Jamaican Popular music and various jazz styles.
    The public is being invited to come out and enjoy some good “food for the ear” for a generous donation, which will be used towards the purchase of equipment and books for the Jazz department.
    Dress casual and bring something to sit on the beautiful, comfortable and well-manicured lawn of the Round of the School of Music.
    The Edna Manley College is the centre of excellence in the arts and provides a physical and academic environment that epitomises the spirit of the arts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What is jazz, anyway?

Jazheads wiuld be fmailiar withthe Louis Armstrong's rejoinder, "If you have to ask, you'll never know"
and it may indeed seem strange to ask after well over a year, over thousand posts
and a couple thosusand visitors, but I felt compelled to ask anyway.

Among the many definitions of jazz I've come across (I forget the writer's name who coined it)
is " spontaneous order" something I can relate to on many levels.

What's your definiton of jazz? feel free to sound (or type) off om the topic

Sunday, November 12, 2006

jazz & reggae

Jazz Notes

Monty Alexander returns to the ‘reggae wellspring’


    This week, Herbie Miller examines the Air Jamaica jazz line-up in light of the roster in the recently held Anguilla tranquility jazz festival and we interview renowned Jamaican jazz pianist, Monty Alexander, whose latest CD Concrete Jungle, returns to the work of late reggae king Bob Marley, an oeuvre which has inspired the jazz man on several previous occasions.
    But first, this column says ‘rest in peace’ to a great champion of jazz and one of the very best newsmen of our time, Emmy award-winning 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. Bradley died of leukaemia this past week, aged 65.
    He spent his formative adult years as a jazz DJ, an activity he regarded more as a vocation than a career, and remained a vocal - and visible - advocate of the art form. Ironically, Bradley made the move from jazz into journalism because he felt it would afford him the standard of living and professional opportunities he sought. He was an inspiration to this writer in both spheres and will certainly be missed.
    “IT beats working” is how the ever affable Monty Alexander summed up his continued motivation for playing jazz piano Alexander is in his fifth decade as an artiste and his schedule remains packed enough to belie the easy answer he offers. On tap over the next several months is a performance on the Jazz Cruise, a full-ship straight-ahead jazz on the seas showcase, a tour of Europe, and a 30-year reunion at the Montreux festival in Switzerland with his cohorts in the Clayton-Hamilton group. And oh yes, in January, he returns home as part of the line-up for the 2007 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival, a slot which he has in fact occupied several times over the history of the event.
    “It’s home, so that alone just gives me great pleasure everytime I play here,” he said via telephone. “More than that, I’m planning to invite a few friends who I’ve played with and whose music I’ve enjoyed over the years. Guys like Freddie Cole [brother of Nat ‘King’ Cole], [saxophonist] Houston Person and Red Holloway, among others.”
    Preceding his arrival on home soil, Alexander also returns to familiar territory on record. His new disc, Concrete Jungle (Telarc) plumbs the archives of the late Robert Nesta Marley. Marley’s music has become something of a touchstone for the pianist, with a previous tribute album, Stir It Up and with other single nods to the ‘Gong’ including outstanding takes on Running Away (from his Live At The Iridium album), and, in tandem with Ernie Ranglin, Redemption Song.
    “Bob’s music has given me so much personal pleasure and delight over the course of my life and career. Every song has given me insight into how to live a better life.”
    For this particular outing, Alexander first managed to persuade the label to allow for recording to be done here in Jamaica rather than in the US. “I thought it was important for us to do that and I convinced them to let us do the record in Jamaica. Unfortunately, I almost had to cancel because of some difficulties at Customs, but fortunately we were able to resolve those and get it done.”
    The ‘us’ and ‘we’ therein referred to includes a cast of fine musicians, Jamaican and overseas-based, who contributed to the disc, including Glen Browne, Dean Fraser, Othniel Lewis, Hassan Shakur, and Delfeayo Marsalis and Herlin Riley.
    The latter two, trombonist and drummer respectively, represent the famous Marsalis jazz family of New Orleans, Delfeayo as brother of trumpter Wynton (and an acclaimed performer and producer in his own right) and Riley as drummer in Wynton’s septet and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra “It’s just amazing how things just came together, how we were able to bridge the US Afro-American experience and the Jamaican experience and the affinity those guys have for reggae and for the culture as a whole”, Alexander notes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jazz debate

An excerpt from interesting debate on the use of the name
'jazz 7 Blues by organisers of the upcoming Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival

The debate continues
Jazz Notes

by Michael 'Jazzofonik' Edwards
Sunday, November 05, 2006

This writer has put himself in a bit of a pickle, having promised - several times now - a response from Walter Elmore to the concerns and criticisms raised regarding the name and nature of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
Ironically, scheduling has thus far kept Elmore from responding, as he has been running the Jazz Quest artiste search for the festival, out of several of the airline's US gateways as well as preparing for the upcoming Kingston appearance of Air Supply at the National indoor Sports Centre come December (said event will also serve as the launch of the 2007 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival).
Be that as it may, the debate has not abated, and following are comments from Canadian-based Jamaican music commentator and author, Klive Walker and Jamaican jazz legend and founder of the Ocho Rios International jazz festival, Sonny Bradshaw.

Klive Walker wrote:
The following comments are in support of Herbie Miller's article 'Battles Royale: Setting the stage for blues and jazz' published in the October 8, 2006 issue of the Jamaica Observer.
Miller's article exposes the fact that Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has very little to do with either jazz or blues. Miller is to be commended for sparing the time and having the courage to attempt to educate the organisers of the festival and the festival attendees on the basic and fundamental questions: What is jazz? and what is blues?
I commend Miller because it takes courage to attempt to divest organisers of the thought that Jamaican audiences will only pay in sufficient numbers to see former country and western stars and former r&b and pop stars as part of a festival which tells them it is a jazz and blues festival.
Why courage? Because I am not sure the organisers really care whether they undermine the legacy of jazz or blues. I think they care about the fact that calling it a jazz and blues festival will attract the middleclass and keep the 'grass roots boogooyagga crowd' at bay. They also care that it will be profitable.
The message of the organisers seems to be: This is not meant to be a real jazz and blues festival, it is designed for a particular audience concerned with appearances rather than the quality of music. They probably think Charlie Parker is a type of cigarette and that Trane is a railway line somewhere in New York.

Can these organisers and their audiences be educated and convinced? I am not sure that attempting to convince them is time well spent. Maybe it is better to follow the lead of Calabash and try to affect the taste of individuals who at least show an inclination and desire to understand the art form and what makes quality art. Those legitimate jazz fans in Jamaica and, yes, organisers take note, they do exist, I know some of them personally, and they would welcome a real jazz festival.

Those of us out here in the Diaspora would book our passage well in advance if we had the opportunity to see and hear, on a beach on the north coast, real jazz artistes such as Jazz Jamaica led by British-Jamaican Gary Crosby, Jamaican-Canadian jazz singers Sharron McLeod and Denzal Sinclaire, as well as Americans like, for example, Cassandra Wilson, David Murray, Pharoah Sanders and Sonny Rollins in addition to Monty and Arturo.

Klive Walker, Toronto

Editor's note - Cassandra Wilson was in fact presented at the 2004 Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues, ironically the very year Kenny Rogers made his Jamaican debut.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jazz in Gardens

St Lucian jazz multi-tasker, Helen Cadett (sax, piano, vocals, composing)
brings her skill set to the Pegasus Gardens come Sunday Oct 29
also featured are Harold Davis & Friends

More on that, as well as the scene in San Francisco, CA
where I'm now writing form for the next two days,
courtesy of Oracle Computing

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Singer Nicole henry dazzled, with loos, dress and voice
at the Half Moon hotel in Montego Bay during their
annual Ambassador Awards recognising travel partners
Thanks to Garfielsd Robinson for the photo

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nicole was nice in Mobay

We weren't personally on hand to witness it but reports are that
singer Nicole Henry's 3rd visit to Jamaica was every bit as
enjoyable as the previous two.
Nicole and her band performed at the Half Moon Village in Montego Bay
as part of the hotel's annual Ambassador awards celebrating
the contributions of its travel industry partners.

Photo coming up shortly.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Interview with Byard

Did great phone interview with multi-reed man Byard Lancaster
after running into him in the city earlier.
Go to jamaicaobserver.com, click on the ePaper
feature, complete the registration and then
go to Sunday, October 1, 2006 for the
A great human being and a fantastic musician.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blue Beat

Blue Beat
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
house band Scotch seen here during their recent set at the Blue beat jazz lounge in Montego Bay. The Blue beat, owned by the same interests that control the Jamaican Maragritaville franchise , is excpected to be a popular post-event hnag forthe upcoming Air jamaica jazz & blues festival from jan 22 through 27, 2007

Middle of the road

Pieces of A Dream and Monty Alexander are the exceptions
as the promo campaign for the 10th Air jamaica JAzz
& Blues festival commenced in New York (atthe BB King Bar & Grill)
recently. Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton and kenny Rogers
signal another middle-of-the-road lineup for the fest that
takes few risks with its now successful formula.
Watch this space for more news and pics or just click on the
Air Jamaica jazz and Blues festival link.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tuesday nights at Christopher's

Two consecutive weeks of greatl ive improvisation at Christopher's
jazz cafe.
last week it was drummer Jubba White , along keyboardist peter James
and bassist Dale Haslam who brought the fire.

This time aroundk, it was steel pan player Dean Peart who along
with fast-rising drummer Akil 'Red Bull' karram, bass man
Aeion Hoilett, keyboardist jerome Tulloch and gutiarist/music
director Seretse Small who thrilled appreciative crowd with
latin and folk-tinged playing that got couples off their
feet - captured by the cameras of Television Jamaica (TVJ),
hopefully for broadcast on the popular ER - Entertainment
Report weekend magazine.
Coming uo this tuesday, a apsecial birthday concert for Small

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tom Terrell benefit

Tom Terrell benefit
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
The recent benefit for jazz journalist/prooter Tom Terrell brought out some of the finest contemporary musicians, captured by Enid Farber in NYC

Monday, September 04, 2006

RIP Dewey Redman

With maynard Ferguson passing only a week or so ago, the jazz world now has to
say goodbye to another great. Tenor legend Dewey Redman died on Saturday
after slipping into a coma followinga massive stroke. he was 75.
Though more famous in later years as the father of Joshua Redman
Dewey was known and acclaimned throughout the jazz world - especially
by his fellow musicians who praied his obviousl ove of music, his versatility
his powerful sound (in the Texas tenor tradition) and his engaging personality

condolences and prayers to the family. He will be missed
but the music remains.

RIP Dewey Redman

With maynard Ferguson passing only a week or so ago, the jazz world now has to
say goodbye to another great. Tenor legend Dewey Redman died on Saturday
after slipping into a coma followinga massive stroke. he was 75.
Though more famous in later years as the father of Joshua Redman
Dewey was known and acclaimned throughout the jazz world - especially
by his fellow musicians who praied his obviousl ove of music, his versatility
his powerful sound (in the Texas tenor tradition) and his engaging personality

condolences and prayers to the family. He will be missed
but the music remains.

Cuban jazz in the Gardens

Hurricane Ernesto had pushed the date back a week (and into a flood of other events) but
the latest jazz in the Gardens, dubbed The Cuban Connection part II proved a worthy
and sultry evening of music, with some exemplary trumpet work from Cuban maestro
Basilio Marques
backing (and often chasing0 Marques were Aeion Hoilett (bass) Akil Karram (drums)
Jerome Tulloch (keyboards) and Seretse Small. Alex Martin-Blanken played addiitonal
keyboards during the early session
Marques kicked off with night In Tunisa before renderign an exquisite My Funny Valentine
on French horn. he returned to the trumpet for the rest of the programme , doing
Herbie hancock's Cantaloupe Island and Watermelon man(encore) as well as other Dizzy Gillespie
and MIles Davis numbers.
Notably he teamed up with Small for an excellent rendition of the latter's 'signature' tune,
Cass Cass

Christine Fisher was great with a blues-gospel programme in the early going and free-wheeling
singer Hezekiah divided the audience into sympathisers and scoffers with his ex tempo riffs
on Perhaps Love and Perfidia among others

Jazzofonik sghred a 'tune-for-tune' three-way spin with Mutabaruka and Gladdy of the Wild Bunch

A great night - Check back soon for pics. Next in the series: October 29 Check back for more details.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From Cuba via Chicago

Internationally acclaimed Cuban jazz trumpeter Basilio Marques headlines the next
instalmento f jazz in the Gardens at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, this Sunday, starting
at 6:00 pm
He'll be complemented by Jmaaican vocalist Christine Fisher and jovial keyboard whiz
Harold Davis & Friends. Mutuabruka, Austin Campbell and yours truly, jazzofonik
will provide 'jazz on CDs' during the breaks.
Marques is a graduate of the Escueal nacional de Artes in Cuba, wehere is currently an instructor.
He has led workshops, in Spain, South Africa, and New York City and has played several major
festivals, including North Sea Jazz, Montreux and the Chicago Jazz Festival.
Marques has also been the Musician-in-Residence at the Chicago Jazz Institute and the Fundacion
Mario Santo Domingo, Colombia.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Laughter & Lyrics

A new spot for mature entertainment has opened up on the South Coast
Taino Cove in the Treasure Beach area, staged the first of
what is intneded to be regular entertainment showcases,
dubbed Laughter & Lyrics.
The show was hosted by American Phyllis Yvonne Stickney,
seen nationally on BET and author Loud Thoughts for Quiet Moments.
The show featureed j'can comedian Owen 'Blakka' Ellis as well as
dub poets IION Station and singers pauline bell and Barbara McCain.
The venue, owned and managed by WInifred Hytlon and her husband
Patrick. Winnifred was former press secretary to Rev Jesse Jackson
The lodge may also become home to a monthly(?) Jazzofonik X-perience.
stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

jazzofonik in the gardens

Jazzofonik X-perience returns to the bi-monthly Jazz in the Gardens
series atthe jamaica Pegasus lawn come August 27
beginnignat 5:30 pm
We'll be spinning jazz shots alongside Mutabaruka and Ausitn
More on the lineup later.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Christopher's Jazz

Night of the 'Boom-bap'
Tuesday Night Live @ Christopher's
Reviewed by Michael A Edwards
Thursday, July 06, 2006

The drum is the beginning of all music.
Jazz pianist Dr Kathy Brown understands this and though she leads (very effectively) from the piano chair, the "musician who also practices medicine" unequivocally summoned a funk vibe during her set as the second headliner in the weekly series, Tuesday Night live at Christopher's jazz bar in the Quad complex.

Brown's cohorts on the night were only too eager to oblige. Aqil Karram and the irrepressible Denver Smith formed a potent drum-percussion tandem that was given extra spice and kick by Aeon Hoilett's bass licks. The leader alternated between tasteful comping, her own sprightly solos and, at times, playing 'starter' in the intense but jovial races between Karram on the trap set and Smith on his congas (he was also exemplary on a range of smaller percussion instruments).
Jazz pianist Kathy Brown led a spirited quartet in African, Latin and Caribbean selections at Christopher's Jazz Bar in the Quad complex in New Kingston. Brown headlined the second in the Tuesday Night Live series.

The programme, expectedly, leaned heavily toward the Southern hemisphere, with African, latin and Caribbean influences dominating. There were several South African selections, the obligatory Bob Marley and an intriguing Brown original, titled Mission, that prompted a call from emcee and co-ordinator Seretse Small (who opened the series the previous week) for Brown to complete and release what will be her debut CD as a leader, a call supported vigorously by the sizeable audience.

The last set in particular, provided several memorable moments, with notice being served on brown's wickedly clever dancehall-funk adaptation of the Flinstones theme (known to dancehall heads as Cobra's Dun Wife). The drum duel escalating to the point where Smith picked up his drum and walked to over where Karram was sitting, intent on offering a stronger challenge.

The only clear winner was the audience, who were still hungry for more improvisational brilliance even at the end of the 'official' programme. With calls coming in for one more, the quartet made an appropriate final statement, a funky claypso strut on St Thomas.
It was indeed a strong statement overall in support of quality live music in the capital, an entity much in need of defence.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Papa blogger's family

Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
wife Jackie (in black an green at right), son Zachary at left and daughter Gabrielle in pink striped shirt at foreground enjoy the great fare and hospitality at Royal Plantation


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
idris Ackamoor blows up a storm for father's Day at Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Cheryl Scales channelled Nina Simone and Billie Holiday


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
Cheryl Scales channelled Nina Simone and Billie Holiday


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.


Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
idris Ackamoor blows up a storm for father's Day at Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios

Idris Ackamoor @ Royal Plantation

Sax man Idris Ackamoor, who apprenticed with Cecil Taylor,
was in fine form at oal Plantation resort in Ocho Rios
over the father's Day weekend. Ackamoor was joined by singer
Cheryl Scales, who was laso in great nick, as was the
RP house band. Big up to Sean, Brimsley, Willie
and Lennie, as well as super-liaison Andre reid
and GM Peter Fraser as well as the kitchen
and wait staff - Excellent job. excellent day.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Every Little Thing #10

Style Week welcomes 7th Avenue
BY MICHAEL EDWARDS Entertainment editor
Sunday, May 28, 2006

"THE world doesn't need another pretty dress."
With that observation, Carmela Spinelli-Schaufler, Associate chair of New York's Parsons School of Design has mapped
out the future direction of the fashion industry - for the world in general but for Jamaica in particular.

The undergraduate fashion design programme of athe Parsons School takes about 480 students. Less than 100 will actually
walk out with that coveted piece of paper.
"Our requirement is that our students actually solve problems, rather than simply making outfits," she says as we endure
the mid-afternoon heat by the poolside of the Jamaica Pegasus. "Talent is important, obviously, but its by no means enough.
This industry is so multi-faceted today and our students are expected to go beyond just making a dress."

Schaufler is here, along with Beth Charleston of parsons and freelance fashion writer David Noh to take part in the annual
Style Week extravaganza hosted by Saint International.

It was Beth who first received the notice of the event and then busied herself on the Internet checking facts about Jamaica,
about fashion and about Style Week.

"This sounded like something really interesting and something which we hadn't been getting much information on at all in
New York," Beth said.

"Right away, you know the light and thus the colours are different," Carmela agrees. "We want to see how that impacts the
design ideas, but more than that we want to see also the impact of the whole culture, the lifestyle, the tastes and smells,
on the design and the style."

For Hawaiian David Noh (who is covering Style Jamaica for fashionwire), the most welcome aspect is to experience diversity
of a different nature than what he has become accustomed to in the fashion capital.

"Even in a place like New York, things can become kind of gray after a while. Here, you have the natural beauty, the
diversity and the strength of the culture, which is your own natural resource."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Byard Lancaster on piano

Byard Lancaster on piano
Originally uploaded by alankin.
A arare shot - atl eastto this writer's eyes of reed man Byard Lancaster at the piano in his Philly hometown

Friday, May 26, 2006

Every Little Thing # 8

Afro-Canadian filmmaker explores the ties that bind
Michael A Edwards, Entertainment Editor
Thursday, February 23, 2006
From left: Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Claudio Valle, Kingston Mayor Desmond McKenzie and Canadian author Cheryl Foggo in discussion during a special reception/presentation at the Canadian High Commissioner's residence in Kingston on Monday.

The last thing many of the incoming guests expected to be greeted by in the patio of the Canadian High Commissioner's residence this past Monday was a movie.

Yet, by evening's end, not only did all present come to thoroughly enjoy the film, but everyone was brought to the realisation of just how deep the connections are between peoples of this hemisphere and our varied Continental (Africa, Asia and Europe) forebears.

The film in question was The Journey of Lesra Martin, a biographical feature. The subject may not at present be a household name to Jamaicans, but those who witnessed Denzel Washington's performance as Reuben 'Hurricane' Carter may have heard the name mentioned a few times.

It was a young Lesra Martin, native to an already depressed Brooklyn neighbourhood, who was instrumental in bringing attention to Carter's case and precipitating his eventual release.

But what, you may ask, are the connections between these characters, and further, how is a Canadian so integrally involved?

The Canadian, multi-talented writer-producer-director Cheryl Foggo, who was guest-of-honour at said reception, is in fact the writer and director of Lesra Martin's journey. Cerebral yet entirely personable, Foggo has her own interesting journey, but more on that shortly.

Lesra Martin of Brooklyn was able to escape the ghetto grind when he caught the attention of visiting Canadian entrepreneurs while on an internship programme.
This meant eventually Lesra (a combination of the biblical Lazarus and Ezra) settling in Canada, where he
considerably augmented his then meagre education, fulfilled his eighth grade dream of becoming an attorney
and met and married the woman of his dreams.

He would also meet Reuben Carter, whom he first came across via a book picked up from a discount bin. The two
became fast friends - more like father and son - and of course, on the release of the movie, celebrities in their
own right. Lesra managed to parlay his fame into a lucrative and important career as a full-time motivational speaker.
But of course, journeys tend to cover valleys as well as peaks, and Lesra has had to deal with loss in his family,
including two brothers (one to AIDS, another to a shooting incident) and both of his parents.

These misfortunes, however, make his story more, rather than less, compelling, and the film ends with Lesra
"coming home" to face the things that have changed, as well as those that remain.

The Journey of Lesra Martin is but one arrow in a quiver full of interesting projects that Cheryl Foggo has undertaken.
One of the others is Pourin' Down Rain, a family memoir outlining Foggo's own multiracial heritage. It's a heritage
that incorporates Native American, African and European elements, and which geographically pulls in Bermuda, Oklahoma,
and Alberta, Canada, where her forebears established the northernmost Black community in the world in the early 20th Century.

Every Little Thing #9

Their best shots
UK photographer to organize summer programme for inner-city youth
by Michael A Edwards Entertainment Editor
Sunday, March 05, 2006

Being exposed to the harsh realities of inner- city life in Jamaica, its easy to believe that the youth in
these communities have little to offer, and that their choices are limited to either a gun or a microphone.
But one British photographer, is aiming to get more inner city kids used to another object: a camera.

David Gill is a freelance photo-journalist, who has visited Jamaica several times, and has done assignemtns here
for the likes of Puma and VP Records. "I know it sounds horribly cliched, but I fell in love with the place,"
he recounts to Sunday Observer.

But its not the fairytales and moonbeams, idyllic country roads kind of love affair. Gill's previous assignments
include teaching tsunami-affected children the joys of photojournalism in Sri Lanka, chasing round the mountains
of Morroco hunting West African migrants on the run, and being "embedded" with the

Black Watch ops team and the Bomb Squad in Iraq.
And whether its football in Arnett Gardens, or a local dance in Spanish Town, Gill is every bit as fascinated by
Jamaican inner cities as he is with the other exotic locales.

So much so that, through an organization called Wee Fi' Life, based in London, Gill is aiming to do something about
the situation.
"What we envisage is an eight-week workshop, sometime in July, where we take some of the kids, teach them photography
, and then at the end of the period, rather than just have a static exhibition, which most of them won't relate to
anyway, we're going to give them the opportunity to become published photographers."
Photos by photo-journalist David Gill

To that end, Gill has secured the co-operation of UK-based style and imaging magazine Plastic Rhino (total readership,
as per its website: 50,000), which plans to run a special pictorial on the works of the young photogs. A similar document,
entitled No Place Like Home, was produced after the Sri Lanka tsunami experience.

Gill is working along with a number of vouluntary groups in putting the project together, including Children First,
Upliftment Jamaica and S-Corner. These organizations, he says, "are doing tremendous work, and it is good to have their
support. The whole welcome has been fantastic and its starting to come together really well."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Every Little Thing # 7 of 10

Michael Grant's Daylight Come

Portrait of a generation: Michael Grant's novel Daylight Come
Michael A Edwards Entertainment Editor
Sunday, April 02, 2006

For the average Jamaican today, in a population largely under age 40, the thought of Jamaica during the WWII years
is near impossible to conjure up: food and gas rations, young men going off to aid the war effort on behalf of the
Empire, all this as the then colony lurched toward self-determination.
Michael A Grant is an advertising executive and lecturer in Advertising and Visual Communication at UWI.

Add to that the growing contest between American and British interests in the Caribbean, which were intensified during
the war as well as in its immediate aftermath, and one has the ingredients of a compelling and little told story.

It is that story, or his own approximation of it, that marketing executive and designer Michael Grant seeks to tell in
his book, Daylight Come. Grant, a child of the Independence period, presents an engaging portrait of the generation that
predeced his, as symbolised by the protagonist, Peter 'Pico' Campbell.

The reader first sees Campbell in two extremes, as a young promising athlete, and then in a 'flash-forward' as an aging
picaresque, hardened by drink and the ravages of his wartime experiences but still holding on, beneath the cynicism to
some vestigal thoughts of his own prowess (both sporting and sexual).

Part wartime suspense thriller, part social studies treatise, part character sketch Daylight evolved out of the author's
mutlifaceted literary and historical interests "I was always drawn more to cultural history than political history," Grant
says in explaining the novel. "My father was a young boy at the height of WWII and I was fascinated about what Jamaican life
would have been like during that time."

For Grant, there is an extent to which characters like 'Pico' Campbell write themselves. "What I sought to do with this story
is to plug an ordinary Jamaican - but one with a burning desire to get out of Jamaica, as indeed many of us have - and place
him in a fanciful situation and have him work his way through it."

Though the book is published on his own Great House Publishing imprint, Grant rebuffs any thought of it being a mere vanity
exercise; "What self-publishing did was give me a greater measure of control, but also a greater measure of responsibility.
I still had it edited and read professionally, and I had friends who were agents that I showed it to who graciously gave me
their unbiased feedback and recommendations.

As a 'Jamerican' (he was educated at top-tier schools in the US and worked in the media and communications indutries in
New York City), Grant believes that Jamaicans and Black Americans should enjoy closer relationships. "There's kind of a
distance, a kind of stand-off that I've observed and it shouldn't be that way. Some of the circumstances may have been
different, but culturally, we have a lot in common."

Daylight Come, in the mold of the folk song that informs its title, is a reflection on a time when, as Grant explains,
the society was less jaded, indeed more innocent than it is today.

His current project cuts across a number of time periods. It is a book about notable Jamaican men, called Changemakers,
along with well-known photographer Peter Ferguson.

Of his own decision, to leave the world of Madison Avenue and writing assignments with the likes of the Wall Street Journal
and the New York Times, to return home, Grant offers this explanation, "I understand what obtains here and I understood that
there was and is a cost to my decision, but I really believed it was time to come home. There is a point at which you can be
making money, but losing value."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Every Little Thing #6

This is one of my earliest credite pieces for the Observer

The Right Moment
-Sudio Art offers a look at the past

I am about midway through a conversation withthe urbane harclyde Walcott of Studio Art when her recalls
that it was one year ago to the day thatthe gallery, the only art gallery dedicated to photography,
opened its doors. "We should have had some wine or something"h e quips, not without a sense of gratification.
Indeed, Walcott, who along with photographer/owner Peter Ferguson, manages the gallery, has good reason to
celebrate. Within that 12-month span, Studio Artneatly tucked in among a plethora of office and commercial
suites along Old Hope Road, has made a clearly discernible impact on a gallery scene almost relentlessly
dominated by apinting

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Every Little Thing #5

The metrosexual male: looking good. and proud of it
All Woman writer
Monday, May 08, 2006

All Woman writer Michael A Edwards analyses a new type of modern man, one who gets a kick out of being fashionable
and well-groomed. It takes a certain level of confidence to go to the salon, especially in Jamaica, where 'real men'
don't get mani-pedis and facials or spend a day at a spa being pampered

This is the metrosexual era. As coined in 1994, by English journalist Mark Simpson, the metrosexual is defined as
'a dandyish narcissist in love with not only himself, but his urban lifestyle - a straight man in touch with his
feminine side.'

Thus, detailed personal care practices, from tweezing one's eyebrows to the use of special facial cleansers and
regular manicure-pedicure sessions, even the extensive use of lotion - all thought to be the preserve of the fairer
sex - are now part of the routine for many men. In particular, urban-based, upwardly mobile males are taking greater
care of their appearance.
Rubber Plantation owner Bill Morris (left) gets the full works, while truck company owner Leroy McCalla regrets he can
only come in once a month because at 51 he feels likes 26 after a day in the salon.

Of course, throughout the ages, there have been men noted for their fastidious devotion to proper grooming and personal care,
but the general reaction from their 'non-metro' colleagues and even from some womenfolk was derision. The obvious epithets
were levelled at them. They were 'soft', they were 'gay' and all the rest.

Today personal care for men is now the in thing. Hair, face and nail treatments are a habit for avowedly heterosexual men.
Along with personal care and grooming comes an affinity for social activities like the theatre, music not overwhelmed by a
'riddim' (though metrosexuals also appreciate dancehall and hip-hop and other modern forms).

Oscar nominee Terrence Howard was quoted as saying, "I'm glad we now live in an age where men taking care of themselves is
seen as a good thing." Naturally, critical and commercial success has given Howard access to the A-list among hairdressers
and personal groomers, but one can infer from his remarks that this was a development some time in the making. Others, like
Real Madrid footballer and married father-of-three David Beckham, have sported sarongs, diamond earrings and nail polish.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Every Little Thing #4 (of 10)

At Sea... and loving it!
BY MICHAEL EDWARDS Entertainment editor
Sunday, March 05, 2006

JUST getting an unobstructed view (save for the few ships inside the harbour channel)
of the expansive shoreline and cityscape of Kingston was worth getting out on what
would otherwise have been a sleepy Ash Wednesday morning.

The drawing card? Observing the ninth annual SuperClubs yacht race, in which sailboats
wend their way from the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club at Palisadoes and finish at the Morgan's
Harbour pier in Port Royal. It's roughly a two-hour journey by sail, considerably less if
your vessel (as ours, the Hayley Leigh does) depends on gas turbines rather than wind power.
Sailboats wend their way along the course. (Photos: Joseph Wellington)

Eventually, all are back on terra firma, where the fun continues. Lunch, courtesy of Morgan's
Harbour, is complemented by the breezy musical stylings of vocalist Sabrina Williams and accompanist,
Dr Kathy Brown on keybords.

Amid the trophy presentations, presided over by Morgan's Harbour chairman Neville Blythe,
there are creations from Dairy Industries (Tastee Cheese) and refreshments from Ocean Spray.

It's not the first boat back that actually wins, but rather like a motor rally or a golf game,
it's the boat which fares best after its inital time has been adjusted (depending on the handicap).

Every Little Thing #3

Da Vinci's Jamaican hideaway -  
  The all-inclusive lifestyle was hardly a thought during the original Renaissance
period, and the famed artist and inventor is long gone. But another type of awakening
has taken place on Jamaica's North Coast in the form of the splendid new-look (and new name)
Sandals Dunn's River Villagio Golf Resort and Spa - the 250-room property that has been given
an "extreme makeover" with very pleasant results.
The rooms are totally remodelled, some with jacuzzi baths and depending on the room category,
couples can each have a big-screen television for themselves. The Oceanview one-bedroom, for
instance, has a king-sized four-poster bed. And the high touch is matched by high tech:
Internet service available in all rooms or, if you wish to keep a check of your bill, you can
hook up to the TV monitor and have your information displayed on the screen

Monday, May 08, 2006

More 'Every little Thing'

The 'First Coming' Of jesus Fuentes
Prior to Sunday, he was essentially unheralded, but amid the breezy confines of the Pegasus hotel gazebo lawn,
Cuban reedman Jesus (that's hey-suss) Fuentes, ably supported by a vibrant (and energised) Jamaican combo, came
pretty close tro the miraculous and left a distinct feeling that there was hope for live improvised music.

With an unassuming yet self-assured air, he began, on tenor sax with classic bop in the form of Miles Davis'
Tune Up, and it proved entirely appropriate in light of what was to come.

Of the jazz standards, few lend themselves to soaring solos and intense group collaboration like Dizzy Gillespie's
A Night in Tunisia. Fuentes took off from the get-go, circular breathing and all, and the crackerjack band, realising
they were in the presence of a monster player, also caught fire. An intuitive and emotional player, Seretse Small
delivered his most intense yet nuanced playing on guitar in quite some time, as did guest percussionist Ouida Lewis
(who had earlier drummed and tapped her way into the audience's hearts in a solo stint). Matching them -sometimes
phrase for phrase, were Ozouni, with his soulful, percussive 'Monk-meets-Liberace' keyboard style, drummer Wendell
Lawrence (rapidly growing into one of the best) and bassist Carl Gibson. In essence, the group took what had to
that point been an unquestionably good show into the realm of greatness.

More transcendence would follow with their rendition of Latin master Chucho Valdes' sinuous Mambo Influencial and by
the time he donned the soprano sax for the whimsical Cubanito ( 'little Cuban', inspired by his young son) Fuentes
left no doubt that he is deserving of a return engagement.

Every Little Thing

Excerpts from articles published in the Observer

Glory to Glorianna movie
No Glory, No Grace

Self-promotion notwithstanding, the Gloria Minto profiled in the pages of this newspaper as one of the 2005 Business Leader nominees is a model of determination, resourcefulness and a certain noble striving for economic and social mobility against the formidable odds of social and gender prejudices and poverty.

That Gloria is largely absent from this production (the movie is said to take its cues from Minto's own memoirs, From Glory to Glorianna) and therein lies its downfall.

What the viewer gets instead is a kind of Royal Palm Unbound (the common players between both projects is not the basis for this assessment, but in some ways it doesn't help) with even less restraint than the already profligate and admittedly popular television series.

The feature begins with a party at the poolside of Hotel Gloriana and Spa, the heroine's crowning achievement. There, amid the paces of a reggae band and tedious close-ups of the copious food and drink on offer, Gloria reunites with 'childhood friend' Precious (more on her later) and the two repair to Gloria's pad for some reminiscing.

This is the vehicle through which the story is told, beginning with little Gloria, meeting her life's inspiration, Anna (who then goes 'poof' until the very end of the film), and losing her father (who 're-appears' at odd junctures with cloying doses of self-help verbiage) in quick succession.

Fast-forward to the teen Gloria, who is bewitched (our only conclusion) by Milton, the prototypical village ram, whose idea of a great first date is a drink and a dance at the local go-go bar.

After such an outstanding proposition, it's an entirely logical progression: they have sex, this time in the nearby river, and Gloria becomes pregnant. All of which greatly angers Betsy, Milton's former - and future - regular gig.

The main premise thus established at this point, the film gives us one more solid look at Gloria the entrepreneur and would-be success story when she decides to go into the Montego Bay market to sell oranges.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

music wrap

The past weekend wasa good one for music and for Jamaican musicians
On Friday, in fronto of the historic Devon hOuse mansion, guitarist
Maurice Gordon led a smokin' quartet in support of an equally
smokin' featured act,. Francine Reed out of the US. with Gordon
were COurntey Sinclair on keyboards, Glen Browne on electric bass
and Tony 'Ruption' Williams on drums (approrpiate)
Also excellent on that show were singer Myrna Hague and the
Jmaaica Big band, led by by Sonny Bradshaw
On Sunday, pianist/keyboardist Kathy Brown had with her Desi Jones
on drums, Aeon Hoilett on bass, Denver Smith on percussion and
Seretse Small on guitar. The band stole the show from the
featured vocal acts

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jazzofonik in the Gardens

the sound system makes its jazz in the Gardens debut this Sunday (Feb 26)
on the back lawns of the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
The bill laso features Rosemary Phillips out of Barbados, actor-
comedian Bobby Smith, singer Sabrina Williams and Maurice
'Lady Love' Charles in a psecial tribute to the late Lou Rawls

part of a busy live weekend that also includes jazz-blues
vocalist Francine Reed in cocnert at Devon House east lawn
alongside Maurice Gordon and the Sonny Bradshaw Big Band

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Al Green

Al Green
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
The recent Air jamaica Jazz and Blues festival had little jazz or blues (notwithstanding Bo Diddley) but it did have a whole laot of soul, thanks to Rev Al Green, seen here belting it out on Friday night (Jan 27)

Al Green

Al Green
Originally uploaded by mike e.bop.
The recent Air jamaica Jazz and Blues festival had little jazz or blues (notwithstanding Bo Diddley) but it did have a whole laot of soul, thanks to Rev Al Green, seen here belting it out on Friday night (Jan 27)

Welcome Tommy Hoeg Quartet

after much deliberations, we can say Welcome to Jamaica to the
Tommy Hoeg Quartet featuring Sinne Eeg, all the way from Denmark
The group will be doing an umber of shows at spots around the island
through February 12. Will post highlights the following week.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Maurice Gordon Trio

Dale Haslam : bass
Desi Jones: drums

THE MAURICE GORDON TRIO returns to the local scene with "JAZZ JAM 2006" on Thursday February 9th, 2006 with special
guest saxophonist MICHAEL "BAMMIE" ROSE. The show will be in the School of Music Auditorium 1 Authur Wint Drive at the
Edna Manley College starting at 8:00 p.m.

The trio features Gordon on guitar with Desi Jones on drums and Dale Haslam on bass. Gordon is currently Head of the Guitar
and Strings Department at the School of Music along with special responsibilities for Jazz. He tutors modern guitar and
electric bass, improvisation and Harmony and Arranging. Gordon and Bammie will also be doing a Jazz Improvisation Workshop
on Tuesday February 7th at the School at 1:p.m.

Reedman Michael "Bammie" Rose is no stranger to Jamaica as he has been making a annual trek to Jamaica with his wife for the
last 4 years. He is a wonderful musician whom is active on the British scene where he has been a resident since the sixties.
Throughout his career he has recorded and performed with Jazz Jamaica, Courtney Pine, Jules Holland and his Rhythm and Blues
Orchestra, Aswad, Alton Ellis and many more.

He has also performed with South African musicians Hugh Masakela and Dudu Pukwana. Bammie has one album to his credit which
is called "REGGAE BEBOP". His repertoire includes a wide selection of jazz standards and Jamaican melodies on the tenor saxophone
and flute.

This is the first in a series which Gordon hopes to do at the School Of Music with his group and students groups. He recently
staged Jazz in the Round in December which was a student performance exam and concert. The next Jazz in the Round will be in March.

It is hope that the school and the students will benefit from the concerts and workshops. As well, a part of proceeds from the
concerts will go torwards the purchase of books for the department. The Maurice Gordon Trio will playing standards and original
compositions by Gordon. Surprise guests sometimes appear throughout the evening.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New year

yes, its already 11 days old, but not too late to say happy new
year to friends of this blog.

Lots of developments as ireferred to in my last msg.
Most notably, the jazzofonik X-perience is no longer at
The Deck. More on that soon.

The first jazz in the Gardens for the year was a disappointment
see my review in the Jamaica Observer(jamaicaobserver.com)...

...of which i am now Entertainment Editor (since Dec 01 2005)

Air jamaica jazz & blues coming up - nestor Torres
Bo Diddley among the now customeary battery of R& B pop
stars past and current. Stay tuned for more.