When Baduizm met 'Jazz'

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 23, 2014    

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THE year was 1997. Baduizm, the debut album by American neo-soul artiste Erykah Badu was hot off the press, and the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival (then known as the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival) was in its infancy.

Badu, with her hits On and On, Other Side of the Game, Apple Tree and Next Lifetime, captured the hearts of young and old with her jazz sound and Afro-centric persona.

She was one of the 1997 festival's headliners. The line-up also featured George Benson, Regina Belle, The Isley Brothers, Black Uhuru and Maxi Priest.

The Rose Hall Great House in St James — with its mystery and intrigue — was the ideal spot for Texan-born Badu to deliver her first live performance in Jamaica.

Badu, who was pregnant, made Jamaica her final stop before taking a break to give birth to her son.

The excitement about the Badu performance was also driven by the release of her latest single Tyrone, a hit with the ladies.

She performed on a stage adorned with lit candles and air pungent with incense. She was positioned on a stool and with a trio of musicians on piano, bass and drums, she captivated her audience who lounged on the sloping front lawns of the majestic venue.

Badu returned to the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in 2010, at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, also the venue for this year's event which takes place January 31-February 2.





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