Trinidadian Llettesha Sylvester at Jazz & Fusion Tuesdays, July 26 2011
by Nigel Campbell, the Blackberry Bro
Trinidadian Llettesha Sylvester has sung for over ten years now. At first displaying her talent in the church, Llettesha decided to work on it and share as she has done in the studio and live on stage both at home in Trinidad and Tobago and in the neighbouring islands of Grenada and St. Vincent.
Llettesha coalesced these experiences with the accolades for outstanding vocals and high achievement she garnered over the years. The result was a packaged set she delivered at La Casa de Ibiza in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. The event, another edition of lounge’s Jazz & Fusion Tuesdays, produced by Karl Doyle.
After one song, “The Look of Love,” she at once established in my ears her presence, with tone and phrasing yet to be surpassed by any of her peers. I would, therefore, venture to say that Llettesha can be The Jazz singing star in Trinidad and Tobago.
Here’s the proof…
Backed by a rhythm section consisting of David Richards on drums, bass man Kevon LaFleur and Ron Clarke, a Kittitian student at U. of Southern Caribbean replacing Rodney Alexander on keyboards with skill and talent, Llettesha interpreted the songs of modern songstresses like India.Arie and Chrisette Michelle, creating a beautiful neo-soul vibe in La Casa de Ibiza.
I love this!
I should not be alone. Do you want this?! You surely would after witnessing, like I did, an inspired duet of India.Arie’s “Ready for Love” by Llettesha and Kevon and watching Llettesha do justice to Esperanza Spalding via Milton Nascimento’s Brazil.
Llettesha’s soprano voice training came in handy when taking on Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” turning this reggae ditty from “Kaya” into a neo-soul hit. The band’s re-arrangement removed the reggae, but retained the soulfulness of this love song.
Aah! Spoken word and Jazz vocals! Why Llettesha? Just sing; no need for talkers this night. After that brief dip in the proceedings, it was thankfully back to the singing. I happy, feeling good. Actually “Feeling Good” was an exposé of cohesion and vocal synergy between featured guest SONGBIRD! Nisa Nora, the band harmonizing like kings. Esperanza again!
“Song choice is a bitch for a passive audience. No energy on a one way street. What would this set encounter in Boston or New York? We need to listen to more music.“
Now, when Llettesha did Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” – no Jazz, no fusion – the audience got back into it, singing loudly. Llettesha embraced and multiplied that energy with Rihanna’s “Only Girl In The World”. On this occasion though, audience singing aside, the band began to swing again and the phrasing came back.
As a fitting closer, Llettesha got caught up in the “Rapture,” essaying a funky remake of Anita Baker’s.
Not to be left behind, the band continued on with a jam based on “Rapture” as they were beamed up. With solo after solo, I thought this could become a show by itself! The guys showed a level of sophistication rarely displayed. The irony was that only a few lucky souls stayed behind.
Karl Doyle picked up on the vibe and fueled the band some more. Twenty minutes and counting, it took management to cut the jam. But if Llettesha Sylvester’s jam at La Casa de Ibiza is anything to go by, this Jazz not stopping now. What say you McFadden and Whitehead?