Venue change for 'Ochi' Jazz Fest

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 27, 2014    

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PLANS are well underway for this year's staging of the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival slated for June 8-15.

The event -- which was conceptualised by trumpeter and bandmaster, the late Sonny Bradshaw -- has been carried on since his passing by his wife, jazz chanteuse Myrna Hague.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Hague noted that all is on track for this year's staging and, despite its name, the festival will be based in the Corporate Area, for all except one of the events.

"We are staying in Kingston, even the main show on Father's Day which was usually held in Ocho Rios comes to Kingston. We took that show to Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios last year and it rained and we lost heavily. We figure even if it rains this year, there are still some people in Kingston who will come out, so our losses will not be as heavy," she said.

The Hotel Four Season in St Andrew will be the festival's base with daily jazz jam sessions featuring Hague and friends. The successful Simply Myrna concert will be the only event to be held in Ocho Rios at the Jewel Resort in that north coast town.

This year, Hague is bringing in three overseas acts for the final show. Pie Grand from Mexico will join the Pat Braxton Band as well as Joe Sizemore and his swing band, both from the United States.

The festival is also partnering with the National School Band Competition and the winner of this contest will have the opportunity to appear on the festival.

"We are so pleased with the standard of this competition and happy to see that band music is being preserved here in Jamaica. As a result, we have decided to offer an award -- The Sonny Bradshaw Award -- for the best horn player in the competition," she said.

Meanwhile, when noted jazz singer performs at the Shell Bandstand inside Hope Gardens in St Andrew today, some up the material will be taken from her latest project Melody Life 2.

This album is actually more than 30 years old, but has been freshened up and given a new lease on life by the singer and her musicians.

Ten of the 12 tracks were first recorded for noted producer Clement 'Sir Coxson' Dodd at his legendary Studio One recording studio.

Hague said the original album did well in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom where she was based at the time, but Jamaicans were never introduced to the music.

"I just wanted to freshen up the album, and balance out the keys. I have also replaced two of the tracks with Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain and Bob Andy's Honey. The tracks have a reggae sound, with my vocal stylings," she said.

The tracks on Melody Life 2 include Never Never, Our Day Will Come, Reaching Out For Your Love, For All We Know and Melody Life.





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