Jazz fest ends on high note

Jazz fest ends on high note

Monday, June 06, 2016

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The 2016 Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival ended on a high note Sunday at picturesque Hope Gardens in St Andrew. According to organiser Myrna Hague Bradshaw, it was the most successful in terms of revenue for some time.

"It has been exciting and very successful artistically and otherwise. We have broken even for the first time in seven years," an elated Hague told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the curtains came down on the 26th staging.

The soul of jazz and other genres were unveiled on the lush lawn from the opening set by Mexican band Filulas Juz, to closing act Freddy Loco and his Gordo’s Ska Band from Belgium.

"What I like about this, it’s different. I get an Afrocentric feel, I get jazz, I get reggae and more," a patron was overheard saying when guitarist/vocalist Eugene Gray was performing.

Declaring that he is on a mission to preserve Jamaican music, the Florida-based musician had patrons rocking to his renditions of the folk standard Linstead Market, Marley’s No Woman No Cry, Our Song (an original instrumental composed with Nambo Robinson), My Fanfare (another original) Ancestral Dance and Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee.

Gray’s set was complemented by keyboardist Chris McDonald and bass player Keith Jones, who is also based in Florida.

Singer and Hague protégé Koriq (who is Tarrus Riley’s keyboardist) earned a deserved encore following performances of the original No Weapons Allowed, Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely, Like I’m Going To Lose You, Crazy Love and Some People Want It All.

Marjorie Browne, accompanied by her husband Glen Browne on guitar, Marjorie Whylie and Orville Haslam on keyboards, gave an enchanting performance of Ever Green and Debbie Boone’s Don’t You Make My Brown Eyes Blue.

The Jamaica Big Band then entertained with well-known jazz, ska and folk standards such as Take ‘A’ Train, Moonlight Serenade, Rukumbine, Carry Go Bring Come and Moody’s Mood for Love. Hague was in good nick on
I’m In The Mood For Love.

Freddy Loco and his Gordo’s Ska Band delivered a quality set built around original songs like Over The Rainbow, Born To Win and Ska Patrol before doing The Skatalites classics Freedom Sound and Rockfort Rock. They were joined by drummer Grub Cooper, keyboardist Tyrone Downie, trombonist Romeo Gray and trumpeter Vivian Scott.

— Basil Walters



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