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Thursday, December 11, 2008


In what will be the final week of events for 2008 in the Live Music nation series, trumpeter Mickey Hanson will lead his band in the popular Tuesday Night jazz showcase at Christopher's Jazz Cafe inside the Quad in New Kingston. No stranger to live gigs or to the Griot Music-produced LMN series, Hanson's lyrical voicings on the horn, and his wide knowledge of contemporary music and easygoing rapport have endeared him to audiences far and wide. Hanson has been one of the principal persons involved in the resurgence of live music in small venues through the successful series “Live Thursdays at the Deck.”

The Live music nation series, which began with the lone Tuesday night engagement over two years ago, has grown to encompass three nights: A Thursday Singer's Night at Christopher's is also popular, while the recently added Wednesday Night Rocks has seen growing interest form aficionados of the the 'rock/alternative' scenes.

Among the other artistes that have been featured are pianists Kathy Brown, Kamla Hamilton and Dennis Rushton, saxophonist Nicholas Laraque, vocalists Janine Cunningham, Bijean Gayle, Katrina Harley, Hezron and Mario Evon. The 2008 series will close out with performances from Althea 'di Chic' Hewitt on Thursday night and, before that, a special Wednesday concert headlined by Tessanne Chin at Backyaad on Constant Spring Road. Opening for Chin will be rockers Gas Money and Crimson Heart Replica.

Mickey Hanson’s accomplished music career spans the past four decades. A self-taught musician, he learned to play the trumpet at the age of 16, and soon attracted the attention of the popular bands that were playing the live music circuit during the sixties. Hanson took to the stage with the Presidents (1963-67) and the Cascades (1967-70) before spending several years (1973-1977) under the tutelage of the great American composer, arranger and trombone player Melba Liston at the Jamaica School of Music. His talent earned him a place by her side as a colleague on her tour of schools, colleges and university music departments in Pennsylvania and New York in 1975.
On his return to Jamaica, Hanson took a five-year stint at Kingston’s New Kingston hotel which he credits as the genesis of his solo career. Between 1979 and 1984, he and the Caribs band kept the city’s nigh crowd jumping at the Johnkanoo Lounge, then Kingston’s premier night club. As his success with the public grew, his fans called for recordings from the much-loved trumpet player and Hanson’s recording career began. His first venture into the studio in 1985 produced a popular single release, Kyu Sakamoto’s Sukiyaki. This was followed by releases of Stevie Wonder’s Harmor Love, Prez Prado’s Mambo classic Patricia and fellow Jamaican Glen Brownie’s Love Song. All enjoyed respectable success on the charts and served to establish Hanson as a name on the Jamaican music scene.
Hanson, now an established talent on the music scene, was an obvious choice when backing musicians were booked for the appearances of major international performers in Jamaica, including Gladys Knight, Denise Williams and Aretha Franklin, among others. He also performed and recorded with Jamaica’s own legend Bob Marley, who was himself only just beginning to surface as a force in the music world.
The occasion was the only Jamaican appearance by Michael Jackson, who at the time was still performing as a member of the Jackson Five. Hanson also became a regular in the recording sessions of other established artists; Bob Marley, (Survival album); Myrna Hague, (Send in the Clowns); Louise Bennett, (Miss Lou); Skatalites, (Last of the Great Guns); Fabulous Five (On the album Yu Safe!, which won a Jammy in 1986, the top award in Jamaica’s music industry).
Mickey Hanson has been a familiar face and valued presence on many Jamaican bandstands. With the legendary Skatalites, he was one of two musicians who although they were not original members, were invited to play on the group’s first recording since they disbanded over 20 years before. Other bands included the Caribs, the Sonny Bradshaw Seven, the Big Band, the Mutual Life Players, Cedric Brooks’ Divine Light of Saba and the Ritz All Star Group.
His concert work includes appearances with the Shortwood 30 voice choir. Hanson’s career took another leap forward with the completion of his first album “For The Love of It”, which features his own distinctive interpretation of Jamaican Standards. “For the Love of It” enjoyed success both locally and overseas, and won two Jammy awards for best produced and arranged album. The album also encouraged a wide cross section of instrumentalists locally to produce albums as a result of its success.
His talent and standard of excellence were recognised as he was a specially invited guest on the Prime Ministers’ Independence Gala at Jamaica House. In 2004, his peers recognised his achievement by awarding him with the Jamaica Federation of Musicians Union Special Award in 2004 for “Outstanding contribution to the development of the Jamaican Music Industry.”

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