Great performances for Jazz Day

Monday, May 05, 2014    

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JAMAICA joined the celebration of International Jazz Day on April 30 thanks to the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

The East Lawns of Devon House in the Corporate Area became jazz central last Wednesday evening as local lovers of the genre gathered to hear some great local interpretations of this North American sound.

Organised by the college's School of Music, the concert primarily featured the work of faculty members who exhibited the mastery of the subject which they are passing on to students.

Of note was Italian-born, Jamaica-based guitarist Samuele Vivian, who captivated his audience with his potpourri of sounds, combining his musical influences and travels to produce an exciting mix.

From the instrumental to the vocal form of the music, Ruth Royes would drop her take on Thelonius Monk's Round Midnight and George Shearing's Lullaby of Birdland in which she also did some skatting reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald who first recorded the track back in the 1950s.

Faculty member Michael 'Ibo' Cooper was joined by friends Junior Bailie on drums, Ouida Lews percussions, Kenroy 'Shortman' Mullings on guitar, and Dale Brown on bass. Together, they put a Jamaican twist on the jazz standard Misty then added some Latin-flavoured jazz to the Jamaican folk staple Evening Time. There were exciting solos by the musicians which went over well with an appreciative audience. Vocalist Serena Constantine would then join the aggregation and put her touch on two numbers. Constantine is known for her vocal work, but her tones wrapped around the jazz notes made for great listening and proves she should do more work in this genre. Guitarist Maurice Gordon injected some blues into the evening as he, along with a bassist and drummer dropped two pieces including the entertaining Freedom Jazz Dance on his Devon House audience.

The evening was capped by Orville Hammond, who was joined by noted drummer Desi Jones with Hammond's Caribbean Suite. The three movements of the composition captured Carib-bean living from the smooth, easy, laid-back living to the excite-ment of carnival.

The college must be commended for spearheading the local celebrations of International Jazz Day, providing a great outlet for lovers of this genre.





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