AFTER spending several months on the island producing her self-titled sophomore album, recognised chanteuse Ala.Ni is the headliner for this evening’s International Jazz Day (Jamaica 60) slated for 22 Jerk in Barbican, St Andrew.
“It’s my pleasure to perform and to be part of the organising team for this year’s International Jazz Day, Jamaica 60. Jazz is such a universal musical genre, as is reggae, so blending and mixing these vibes together — on this soil, with some of the best musicians on the island — is a real musical experience and privilege for me,” she said.
Ala.Ni is a member of the organising committee tasked by UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute in the United States with putting on a fantastic celebration for UNESCO International Jazz Day, with events taking place around the world at the same time.
Ala.Ni (given name Alani Gibbon) was born in London, England, and is of Grenadian decent. Her great uncle is Grenadian cabaret legend Leslie Hutchinson.
She gained extensive music industry experience singing backup vocals for singers like Mary J Blige and Andrea Bocelli before establishing herself, even collaborating with international punk icon Iggy Pop on her track Le Diplomat. Ala.Ni is well known for her passionate yet subtle vocals, which are reminiscent of late jazz greats Judy Garland and Billie Holiday.
Her debut album You & I was recorded in London before she moved to Paris, and while there French label No Format began releasing it as a series of seasonal 7” EPs in 2015, with the whole album following in 2016. Missing Piece Records then published it in America in 2017 after it gained international acclaim. She’s looking forward to this evening’s event, which will be her first large gig in over two years after a well-deserved break.
Aside from Ala.Ni as the headliner the evening promises to be extraordinary, with world-class musicians playing in a special one-night-only performance. There will be Mark Chillemi on trumpet and saxophonist Ben Roseth (USA); Maki Kawamoto on koto (Japan); Charlo Alfonso on steel pan (Trinidad); Gerd Beyens on chromatic harmonica (Belgium); with vocalist Hector “Roots” Lewis, Audale Martin (piano), Chris Campbell (guitar), Salim Browne (bass), and drummer Jeremy Ashbourne representing Jamaica.
Tonight’s event will be co-hosted by musical virtuoso Jeremy Ashbourne under his brand The Jam Is Back.