Doing it for Alpha

Monday, July 28, 2014

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LAST Friday's Music is the Gift That Keeps on Giving, event featuring the Alpha Boys' Band and the Alpha All Stars, certainly lived up to its billing.

The performances by past and present students of the Kingston-based institution that has nurtured boys at risk for 130 years, had patrons at the Redbones Blues Café truly entertained.

Both aggregations delivered an infectious blend of jazz, mento, ska, and reggae.

The Alpha Boys' Band was first up. Their set included the original instrumental, Rock Easy, as well as a medley of folk songs in a suite dubbed Mento Licks.

Then came rapper/dancer Ricardo Sangster, who was well received for his energetic performance of Bill Withers' Lean on Me.

Drummer Andrew Martin, who was introduced by his father, veteran drummer and Alpha stalwart Winston 'Sparrow' Martin, wowed the audience, which included Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, with an outstanding solo set.

The All Stars featured musicians of recent vintage such as trumpeters Lance Smith and Channeil Christian. They opened with an amazing rendition of the Perez Prado Latin standard Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.

Accompanied by keyboardist Henry Robinson of Unique Vision Band fame, the All Stars went into easy listening staples like Summertime and Blue Moon, followed by songs made famous by the Skatalites such as Freedom Sound, Eastern Standard Time, and Exodus.

There was a guest appearance by singer/guitarist Sky Taylor who did her original Just a Little More, and Our Day Will Come.

Joshua Chamberlin of the Alpha Boys' School, co-ordinated the show.

"Tonight was about showcasing Alpha's past, present and future. Music is alive and well at Alpha and we need to share it," he told the Jamaica Observer.

— Basil Walters




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