/* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; padding-top:15px; line-height: 1.6em; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; text-align: center; } -->

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A good week for music

Jazz First
by Michael ‘Jazzofonik’ Edwards

The week that was
The past week proved as good for music as it did for cricket, with stars old and new coming to the fore.
Firstly, the new. On Sunday last, the former Studio A at the CPTC was re-opened (having been rebuilt after a devastating 2005 fire) and re-named in honour of broadcast legend Wycliffe Bennett.
The sprightly honouree was his usual quiet yet effusive self, but the real highlight for this writer was being able to witness the emergence of two stunning new talents. First violinist Nadje Leslie, a prodigy if ever one was worthy of the term and already a delightful entertainer at thirteen. Then, altoist Dwayne Foster who, but for the fact that he wasn’t playing tenor, gave off the air of a young Dexter Gordon: very relaxed and fluid on his instrument — in command and enjoying every moment of it.
The pair would return on Tuesday evening at the 3M-sponsored cocktail hour at the new Caribbean Business Club in New Kingston (a neat concept, and well executed), performing separately as well as together. This is one of the most heartening developments in the recent annals of our music, to see young people with this level of proficiency but moreover with a clear love for the artform and an apparent desire to make music their life focus.
Sunday was also special for the renewal of Jazz On The Green, a show which has gotten progressively better over it’s four-year run. Like myself, Basil Walters was on hand and submitted the following review:

On a rather humid afternoon attended at one stage by a brief light drizzle, there was nothing green about the musical performances in this venue, with its care-free ambience in which patrons could lyme and enjoy the music and tasty delights (courtesy of Lorraine Fung).
The sound quality and general management ensured that the event was one filled with sweet music of international standards. The Desi Jones-led Green House Effect opened the gig, setting the tone for a for the wider variety of entertainment that was to come.
Among the outstanding performers was Tanice Morris, the first solo act. Morris gave an emotionally charged performance, beginning her stint with ‘Jazzin’ (a take on Marley’s Jammin’). Having received a welcome response, she consolidated her stay with a pleasing rendition of Alfie and followed with the oft-performed Etta James classic, At Last.
It was then time for the Jamaica Big Band under the direction of Sonny Bradshaw. The expansive aggregation enlivened things with Take The A Train, Confucius and Satin Doll, before the welcome intervention of Myrna Hague who journeyed through Streets Of Kingston, adding That’s Life before taking off on Fly Me To The Moon. After she departed the stage the Big Band continued where it left off with Rukumbine, Everyday Blues, and Perez Prado’s Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White with competing single-note runs from the horn section.
An ensemble from the School of Music under the direction of Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, demonstrated a general desire towards refinement with a great deal of improvisation. Sarena Constantine stood out with an impressive interpretation of Ben E King’s old standby, I Who Have Nothing.
Dr Kathy Brown promised a musical journey encompassing Mexico (Bull Fight), South Africa and her own composition, a romp entitled Godfather.
Benjy Myaz and Friends featuring gospel saxophonist, Courtney Fadlin, played a short, set of trademark smooth jazz and was especially pleasing on People Make The World Go Round. Although time did not allow for him to have extended himself, Fadlin lived up to his reputation with ease and dexterity with a few bluesy numbers.
Karen Smith was in her usual impeccable form, gliding effortlessly through They Can’t Take That Away From Me and A Wonderful Day Like Today. Jazz On The Green ended with a delightful uptempo jam session featuring master saxophonist Dean Fraser, Christopher McDonald on keyboards, Desi Jones on drums and Dwight Richards whose take, on vocal of Marvin Gaye’s hit, What’s Going On was sweet music to the ears. Proceeds from the event go towards the construction of a multi-skill training centre in Spanish Town.

Christopher’s Jazz Cafe was this past Tuesday the scene of yet another series-topping outing in its ongoing Tuesday Live sessions. Host Seretse Small on guitar joined bassist Carl Gibson and drummer Wendell Lawrence (his regular rhythm section) as well as keyboardist Courick Clarke to lay down what must rank among the top five sessions in the series (at least among those witnessed by this writer). Lawrence, in particular distilled his every solo to it’s purest musical essence. If this is the stuff of which Seretse and the True Democrats are made (they’re presently recording), then my vote is assured.
On Thursday, the focus shifted to the singers with the leggy Althea ‘Di Chic’ Hewitt putting her compelling presence and throaty trill to good use on covers of Anita Baker and other chanteuses.

Two jazz legends meet in hospital
It was an unlikely reunion in the most unlikely of places for Hank Jones and Abbey Lincoln Moseka, two jazz legends whose paths crossed again last Tuesday at St Luke’s Hospital.
Jones, 88, has been playing the piano for over 60 years. He recorded with Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald, among others, and played for TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show for many years.
The 77-year-old Lincoln Moseka grew up in Chicago as Anna Marie Wooldridge (a former manager gave her the stage name Abbey Lincoln). She came to New York in her 20s and sang at the Village Vanguard, later marrying jazz and bebop drummer-composer Max Roach (they divorced in the 1960s) and starring in several films.
Jones suffered a massive heart attack, while Lincoln had several complications: heart failure, pulmonary edema (where the lungs fill with fluid) and difficulty breathing.
Both are recovering and they have our prayers for complete healing.

A quick Riff
What with cricket and other commitments, haven’t been able to keep up with Riffin’ on FM93 the way I’d like to (Is there any way the programmes can be packaged for compilation, Dermot? — what a gift of music that would be). I did manage, however to catch a bit of the always haunting, always compelling African master Salif Keita. Talk about the perfect end to a musical week.
Till next time, keep swingin’.

No comments: