Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Jazz high

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THE ELEMENTS smiled on the opening night of the first Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari experience at the Old Fort, Hilton Barbados Thursday night.
The location, although unsheltered, did justice to the beautiful sounds coming from the stage, no doubt because of the acute attention paid by the technical staff to ensure easy listening.
The night featured Patrica Lowe and the whole session was augmented by a soulful and vivacious Alyson Williams, the jazz singer.
Opening act Lowe, who is British-born of Barbadian parents and is now living in Italy, got things off to a cool start, but eventually endeared herself to the large audience with her earthy vocals enhanced by an awesome backing unit.
Lowe’s lyrics speak to self-awareness and cultural activism, and she seems at times to lose herself in the music, allowing it to create a synergy with her emotions.
It was a swing time for the lead man and drummer, 63-year-old T.S. Monk, who opened with a tribute to his father with Rhythm A Ning. The audience was then treated to a virtuoso display of musical talent, especially from tenor sax Willie Williams.
Minister Stephen Lashley, whose portfolios include culture, lauded the organisers for producing such a show.
“Given the sense of character and determination of Tom Hinds [the producer] . . . we have no choice but to put our hands together and compliment him for staging such a beautiful festival,” he said.
The minister noted that Hinds had joined other promoters who had responded to his call to be the trailblazers to create opportunities for more festivals.
“I know that we have had the Barbados Jazz Festival, which has come to an end. . . . Jazz lovers have yearned, have been calling for more jazz in Barbados. Here is the beginning of what I believe would be an outstanding festival.”
Lashley said that within the context of the Government’s initiative to develop the cultural industries there was a need for more festivals.
He said Barbados had seen the value-added of the Crop Over Festival, which had surpassed the $80 million economic spin-off reported in 2007.
“What I would want to see is the development of more festivals which can impact on our growth of our net earnings. It is the cultural industries in Barbados, in my view, that will be one of the leaders in helping us to transform the economy,” Lashley said.
With the speeches out of the way, the near-three-hour-long jazz session was on.
It was a good night for jazz promoter Hinds and his team. (JS)

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