Redbones turns page at 15

Basil Walters

Saturday, November 24, 2012

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A diverse cast of fans and performers turned out Wednesday to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Redbones Blues Cafe in St Andrew.

The occasion was also used to launch Redbones 15, a book marking the achievements of the popular pub which started in 1997.

"Goodness! I forgot this was a book launch. I thought it was a party," Evon Williams, founder/proprietor of Redbones, joked.

"But anyway, there is a book. I wrote a book, it took about eight to nine months for me to put it together. I went through almost 7,000 photographs," he told an audience that included finance minister Dr Peter Phillips.

The 250-page book has features by various writers on the arts, literature, food and music which are all part of the Redbones package.

"We had over 250 performers on this stage and the other stage (of the previous location) of pretty good talent. It's a good history of what's been happening," Williams said.

An architect by profession, Williams' involvement with entertainment started at the Epiphany nightclub in the 1970s. He promoted shows with artistes such as Leroy Sibbles, Gregory Isaacs, the Mighty Diamonds, Lloyd Parks and We the People, Judy Mowatt, Inner Circle and Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus.

Herbie Miller, curator at the Jamaica Music Museum, commended Williams and his team for promoting quality entertainment.

"We have an expanding cultural space from jazz to blues, reggae, new forms of music. In fact, many of the top hot bands on the scene today, got there break right here," Miller said. "But it doesn't start and end with music. It's the poetry, it's the cuisine of course, and just the sort of interaction one is able to have in a space like this with others whose sense of culture, music and the arts are as such that it's so stimulating."

Wednesday's performances included Candace who recited a poem, Rainy Night, in homage to her late mother Sandra Sojoya Alcott.

Guitarist Maurice Gordon brought the blues/jazz flavour for which the venue is well known. Fellow guitarist Seretse Small, saxophonist Tafawee Bushy Cap and Jimi Hendrix sound-alike Jason Worton also impressed.

Singer Harold Davis took things to another level with some amazing scatting on the jazz standard Fly Me to The Moon and a soulful take on The Book of Rules.

Tessanne Chin rocked with a reggae-rock spin on The Wailers' Concrete Jungle before bringing the house down in duet with Michael Harris on the Italian classic, The Prayer.

Other performances came from the Black Zebra Band, vocalist Omar Azan, Gass Money, poet M'bala, and veteran roots singer Kiddus I along with his Nyahbinghi drummers/chanters who brought the curtain down on the five-hour celebration.

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