Kingston gets jazzed up

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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THERE is a new initiative aimed at injecting entertainment into downtown Kingston. The latest project, Downtown Night, sees live jazz each Friday at the F&B restaurant, located at the corner of Duke and Harbour streets.

According to its promoters, the event is part of a mission to rejuvenate the area by fostering a safe and creative atmosphere. This also fits into a move to present Kingston as cultural capital of the Caribbean. The city was designated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a creative city of music in December 2015. This acknowledgement seeks to use Kingston's creativity, as a driver for sustainable urban development.

Each week, Downtown Night — Live Jazz features a trio of jazz musicians led by Ozou-Ne on piano, supported by Sherwayne Thompson on bass and drummer Richardo Campbell. They will be joined by a guest performer who could be a vocalist or musician.

There is no general admission but instead a musician's charge, which goes directly to the artistes.

Last Friday's soft launch was a treat for Herbie Miller, curator and director of Jamaica Music Museum.

“It was an evening well spent, listening to a musician whose knowledge of the standard jazz repertoire stood in stark contrast to what is generally and incorrectly referred to as jazz. Ozou-Ne and his fellow musicians treated those in attendance to the music of Benny Goldson, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Thelonius Monk, some of the greats of the genre,” Miller told the Jamaica Observer.

“This is welcomed as you can find almost every other kind of music at some point every day of the week. The truth is that jazz is the foundation of any popular music and sadly, in Jamaica, jazz is often overlooked except for events which are few and far between,” he continued.

The event joins other live music events taking root in downtown Kingston, particularly on the waterfront, which has become a hotbed of culinary excitement in recent years.

Organisers hope the latest venture will recapture a bygone era of the exclusive Myrtle Bank Hotel, and the Upstairs Downstairs Gallery.


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