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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Vol 5 #9: Countdown to Ocho Rios Jazz & More

In this issue

- U.S. Embassy, CPTC bring feast of jazz for April - Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)

- Larry Mac Attacks: percussion maestro Larry McDonald distills his diverse 40+ year career into the innovative debut CD, Drumquestra

Jazz on Film & Canvas
The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce its partnership with the Creative Productions and Training Centre (CPTC) and local sponsors to mark the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Activities for the month will include a jazz film festival, a jazz marathon on Creative Television (CTV), as well as a jazz exhibition, all to be held in the Wycliff Bennett Studios at CPTC, 37 Arnold Road, Kingston 5.

Creative Television’s (CTV) “Jazz Jammin’ Marathon” April17 to 19 is three days of back-to-back jazz programming featuring a line-up of concerts, feature films, documentaries and interviews with Jamaican and international jazz musicians and singers.

The film series, which will feature the inaugural season of the critically acclaimed LEGENDS OF JAZZ with Ramsey Lewis, blends one-of-a-kind music performances, rarely-seen archival material and intimate conversations with the top artists of the genre. It has received rave reviews from major publications around the U.S. The films will be shown each Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and are free and open to the public.

These jazz specials from the CPTC’s archives include the Blues on the Green, Jazz in the Gardens, and Seretse Small’s Live Music Nation series, as well as television productions with Jon Williams, Dr. Kathy Brown and Friends, Dennis Rushton, Sonny Bradshaw and the Big Band, Ernie Ranglin, Maurice Gordon and Friends, Mickey Hanson, Sonny Bradshaw, Cedric Brooks, Lester Sterling, Ian Herd, Seretse Small, singer Totlyn Jackson and many more.

The jazz exhibitions are entitled, “Louis Armstrong: King of Jazz;” “Duke Ellington Remembered – 1999” and “Jazz.” The exhibit will remain in place for the month of April and will be free and open to the public.

The embassy and CPTC join the Smithsonian Institution and a distinguished roster of U.S. federal agencies and departments, NGOs, foundations, and broadcasting networks in all fifty U.S. states and forty countries that are turning the spotlight on the glories of jazz as both a historical and a living treasure. Since 2002, JAM has been celebrated in April by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). The month of April was selected as it is the birth-month for a number of leading jazz figures including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Tito Puente and Herbie Hancock.

DRUMS UNITE!!: the mystically funky sound of percussionist extraordinaire Larry McDonald is - finally - distilled on record in his debut disc, Drumquestra


– NEW YORK, NY – April 13, 2009: Jamaican master percussionist Larry McDonald is at the heart of MCPR Music and the record label’s "Drum Fusion" project. McDonald, who is highly regarded by many as a premier percussionist in the world / reggae genre is now residing in New York City but his career began at the heart of the Jamaican reggae/ska scene with a list of credits that includes but is not limited to collaborating with such beloved artists as: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots & the Maytals, Bunny Wailer, Bad Brains, Taj Mahal, Earnest Ranglin, the Skatalites, Gil Scott Heron, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Soulfly. The boundary – pushing percussionist is also a founding member of two highly touted New York City reggae acts, The Rocksteady 7 and Dub is a Weapon.

Teaming up for a groundbreaking collaboration with MCPR Music, Larry McDonald crowns a storied four-decade career with his first solo album entitled, Drumquestra. Steered by veteran reggae producer Sidney Mills (Sly and Robbie, Steel Pulse), Drumquestra is a personal and captivating percussion orchestration and dance floor masterpiece that McDonald lovingly calls “a drummical experience.”

“Andre Swanepoel , Media Marketing Manager of MCPR Music notes, “The MCPR Music family are thrilled to be working with the legendary Larry McDonald as we are dedicated to bringing to the masses an unprecedented movement that we hope will inspire the world to embrace the art of percussion as a cultural exchange.”

Drumquestra triumphantly distills McDonald's own epic percussion explorations, starting with Jamaican mento and ska in the 1960s, and flowing through the exciting cross-currents of influence that McDonald absorbed in Africa, Brazil, and Cuba and beyond.

"I wanted to take percussion elements from all countries because drums from Cuba, Africa and Brazil, they resonate with me just like family.” Larry explains. "I knew that rhythms from many places could work together to develop different textures. I wanted to take the Jamaican rhythms I was familiar with, like Kumina and Rasta and weave them together into a foundation of old and traditional sounds but introduce them as new with diverse beats and textures."

That quest led McDonald to delve into his own roots, recording organically with-in the Green Grotto caves at Runaway Bay on Jamaica's North Coast which was the inspiration behind the exuberant, shaza-driven track ‘World Party’. Pure sounds from the ocean and caves are highlighted on ‘Mento In 3’. McDonald also features Bongo Shem & the New Creators, a kumina drumming group from the mystic St. Thomas area, for the sacramental track ‘Backyard Business’.

Larry coined the unusual Drumquestra title for the crew who brought his cherished vision to life -- a unique orchestra uniting generations of Jamaican drummers including: Sly Dunbar, Isaiah "Stickie" Thompson, Bongo Herman, Carl McCleod, Marjorie Whylie, Alvin Haughton and three drummers from the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. In addition, McDonald recruited Royo Smith on bass, Simba Messado on repeater and Delroy "Putus" Williams on funde. Drumquestra also features guest lyrical performances by dub poet Mutabaruka on ‘Free Man’ and Ras Tesfa on ‘Drum Say’. Veteran reggae legend Toots Hibbert (Toots and The Maytals) is featured on ‘What About the Children’ and Stranger Cole can be found pairing up with his son DJ Squidly on the poignant ‘Crime or Music’. Scat vocalist Bob Andy delivers on the historic tribute, ‘You Got Jazz?’ and MCPR’s own DJ Shaza’s exuberance romps through the healing shout-out of ‘Brotherman’ and the more meditative track ‘Peace of Mind’, on which he's joined by the singer, J.D. Smoothe.

Drumquestra is a wonderfully unabashed drum album with 15 tracks of reggae, dub and world music featuring Larry McDonald and his drum orchestra playing over 20 different percussive instruments. A powerful mixture of textures, grooves, blood and guts all ranging in influence. Drumquestra is a special mixture of intensity and beauty, a cultural experience that transcends boundaries without blurring them, a zest of rhythmic improvisation tantalizing decks and playlists from Boston to Brixton and Bali.

Larry McDonald is scheduling a slew of European and U.S. performances in 2009. For more information on Larry McDonald and MCPR Music please visit:
www.mcprmusic.com and myspace.com/larrymcdonald1.

Thanks to our good friend, and
U.S. Publicity contact, Diane Podolak, Publicist, for the info
T: 718-383-1387
E: Diane@allegro-media.com

Jamaica Jazz "At the Wicket"Ocho Rios Jazz comes in June, with a new concept, the Jamaica Jazz XI - as i nthe cricket analogy. Check back next issue to see who made the first cut, and who should be coming into the team.

Next issue:
Drumquestra reviewed
plus.... LET ME BLOW MY MIND - What Does Don Drummond Have to say to my generation?
online as of May 1