TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Originally posted on April 21 2011; last updated on May 02 2011
- Tobago Jazz Experience 2011 schedule
The sounds of Jazz and World music come to Tobago every April during the island’s Tobago Jazz Experience. Music lovers converge on the quaint island to enjoy eleven days of Jazz, World Beat, Latin, Salsa, Soca, Reggae and R&B. The desires of even the most diverse music lover are satisfied at Tobago Jazz Experience, a festival offering a great opportunity for visitors to have a unique experience of Jazz, culinary delights, good company and excellent vibes. This year’s festival is from April 23 to May 01.
The vibes first took hold at Jazz in the East on Saturday, April 23 at Speyside Village where the improvisational styles of soca and reggae intermingle with the more classic Jazz act in the person of Guyanadian flautist and vocalist Ruth Osman.
Here’s a take by Carl Cupid of Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday:
“Ruth Osman and her back-up musical ensemble, true to form, worked some jazz magic from a moving, soulful, reggae-tinged rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” to Shadow’s (Winston Bailey) “Dingolay” which was given the full royal jazz treatment, with an original composition “New Blues” thrown in along the way.
Osman excelled, with violinist Janine Xavier stealing the spotlight.
Not to be outdone, Tobago’s own Adana “Princess Adana” Roberts held her own superbly with jazzy interpretations of a number of popular R&B and reggae selections including “More Than Words”, Bob Marley’s immortal “No Woman No Cry”, crowning it off with Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” and the Jackson Five’s all-time hit “I Want You Back”. Hers was a performance that energised the crowd. Also taking the spotlight was Tobago’s latest jazz ensemble Mastermind – with interchanging lead singers Delissa Wilson-George and Ayanna Benjamin captivating the fired-up crowd.“
Ruth Osman in Guardian Media: “There were groups of people who came to the front of the stage and took in everything[...] [They] were listening and responding[...] I felt really good onstage. I felt the love.”
The day after that, Sunday, April 24, Hillside Jazz featured some key performers from Signal Hill and Patience Hill and up-and-comers from around Tobago. The venue was the Signal Hill Recreational Ground.
Jazz on the Waterfront is set up to mirror Bourbon Street in New Orleans, that is simultaneous performances taking place at various locations on the street. In the case of Tobago Jazz Experience, Jazz, poetry and steelpan performers from Tobago appeared at three designated locations on the Scarborough Esplanade, Wednesday, April 27.
World Music Night is, as the name implies, was a show developed as an exposé of different genres of music at Pigeon Heritage Park on Thursday, April 28. The park is also where the pan-men assembled for Pan Jazz “Pazzazz” at the top of the weekend, Friday, April 29.
To continue, the vibes moved over to the beach at Mr. Irvine on the Saturday morning, April 30, for Jazz on the Beach. There, it was an all-Caribbean Jazz experience courtesy of Barbadian saxophonist Arturo Tappin, Trinidadian trumpeter Errol Ince and Friends featuring Vincentian keyboardist Leston Paul, Trinidadian vocalist Patti Rogers and the Arthur Marcial Jazz Ensemble.
Patti Rogers in GuardianMEDIA:
“Rogers returned to “Jazz on the Beach” after a two-year break because of cancer treatment. Her offerings included Fragile, Walk on By, Night and Day, Just My Imagination and a pleasing adaptation of Destra Garcia’s pan song, Calling Meh. She was backed by Douglas Redon who also worked on Garcia’s original version.“
- Arturo Tappin at Jazz on the Beach (photo: Tobago Jazz Experience)
Here’s a take by Nigel Campbell, the Blackberry Bro:
“Arturo Tappin’s lesson in sax improv is beach friendly and funky. Nicholas Brancker is in the house too. Arturo channels the Beatles’ “Come Together” as a ska, does a soca medley like a bad brassorama piece – these Bajans doing things! – and tops it off with an EWF medley. Tappin blows as the thunderclouds gather. Bikinied ladies keep dancing like they don’t care. Arturo does Taio Cruz to danceable death…and he’s out. Then the rains came.”
Arturo Tappin in GuardianMEDIA
“Saxophonist Arturo Tappin turned Jazz on the Beach into a lively Saturday afternoon party and had people dancing in the sand and sea with a happy mix of soca, pop and R&B selections. The Bajan artiste and top T&T musicians made the fifth anniversary of “Jazz on the Beach” a fitting celebration at the Mt Irvine Bay Hotel. The musicians added another level to the Tobago Jazz Experience…
Beginning with Tempted to Touch, Tappin immediately had the sizeable crowd swinging. When he followed with Michael Jackson’s Bad, almost everyone had abandoned their seats, and by the time he played Ready to go Right Now, the audience was overcome with joy. He kept the pace up with I Just Wanna Dance With You and Roll It Gyal and ended his almost hour-long performance with a serenade through the crowd…“
Arturo Tappin at TJE 2011 (screenshot, CarnivalTV)
Also, the people who brought you Jazz Artists On The Greens (JAOTG) had a pool lime from 05:00 pm Saturday, 30th April 2011. The vibes will end when Tobago Jazz Experience ends.
Last year was so good, say the JAOTG folks, they had to do it again. Admission was free for musicians with instruments.
Drop Ince, Rogers and Marcial and add The Jazz Singer Vaughnette Bigford,
the keyboardist Dave Marcellin Jazzet (PS: Some of Dave Marcellin’s students went ahead and paid tribute to their fallen leader.) Andres Kappel Tabanca Blues and the trumpeter Terry Shaw Jazz Group, all Trinidadian, to Tappin, and you have the roster for the Sunday morning, May 01 edition of Jazz on the Beach.
Jazz on the Beach 2011 by Shurlan Griffith
Later that very evening, Tobago Jazz Experience closed with the grand finalé, a Beach Jazz Fiesta for the true Jazz lovers to relax in the wonderful ambience of the Pigeon Point Heritage Park – no, not in St. Lucia – and enjoy traditional and Contemporary Jazz.
The likes of the Kariwak Players, Michael Low Chew Tung’s Elan Parle, singer Kay Alleyne, Alternate Quartet, guitarist Clifford Charles, keyboardist Chantal Estelle and her band Moyenne and 12 the Band from Trinidad were the warm-up acts for headliners Randy Crawford and Joe Sample.
Elan Parle at TJE 2011 (screenshot, CarnivalTV)
Elan Parle in panpodium:
“Elan Parle led by Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung was one of the acts that left patrons calling for more. With Low Chew Tung on piano, the band opened with a jazz interpretation of “Wotless” and followed with another jazz improvisation, this time taking Machel Montano’s Road March winner, “Advantage“, and giving it a new musical twist. Low Chew Tung opened the piece with chords from “Waiting For You” by Richard Marx…
Also proving a hit was guitarist Clifford Charles and his ensemble, which performed before Elan Parle and was the first act of the night to get people to dance near the stage when they played “Rainorama.” Charles then caused the audience to squeal with delight when he performed his own arrangement of “Trini,” the song popularised by soca artiste Benjai.
Kay Alleyne was as usual a big hit with the audience and many came nearer to the stage when it was announced she was coming up next…Alleyne performed, “Sweet Love,” “Nobody’s Supposed To Here” “Spotlight” and “I Have Nothing.“