…a sampling of Jazz news deserving of a post rather than a roll, a blogroll
February 2009 Buzzz:
Jean Toussaint is an Aruba, Dutch Antilles tenor saxophonist who grew up in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, studied at Berklee School of Music and finally moved to the United Kingdom where he has taught at the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama while making records and touring.
Along the way, Toussaint shed wood with Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Mulgrew Miller and Lonnie Plaxico as a Jazz Messenger, under the tutelage of Art Blakey. Touring London with the Messengers, Toussaint came across guys on the London Jazz scene like Courtney Pine and Julian Joseph.
Assembly Rooms in Derby, England had the benefit of Jean Toussaint’s experience and expertise on Friday, February 20, 2009. Backing him up were Andrew McCormack (piano), Larry Bartley (bass) and Troy Miller (drums). (Source: thisisderbyshire.com)
Speaking of the United Kingdom, there is a young London lion, born of the West Indies (St. Lucia), who is sweeping himself more and more into prominence. His name is Denys Baptiste. Remember that!
Baptiste is a 40 year old tenor and soprano saxophonist with three recordings under his belt, Be Where You Are (Dune Records, 1999; Mercury Prize for Album of the Year and MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act), Alternating Currents (Dune, 2001), and Let Freedom Ring! (Dune, 2003).
He is a formally schooled musician, having passed through the doors of London’s Guildhall School of Music. And of necessity, he studied under a master musician, in this case bassist and producer Gary Crosby of NuTroop, the 13 piece Jazz Jamaica and the 20/23 piece upgrade, Jazz Jamaica All Stars.
His credits then landed him gigs with his excellency Courtney Pine, Jazz Jamaica, Ernest Ranglin and a host of international Jazz stars.
Then Cheltenham International came calling with a commission to compose, arrange and record Let Freedom Ring! a twelve piece multicultural big-band blend of contemporary Jazz, Gospel, Blues and Afro-Cuban musics inspired by the words of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech. For this recording/touring project, Baptiste breaks up the work into four movements, I Have a Dream, With This Faith, Let Freedom Ring, Free as Last and five other standalone tracks. (Source: jazz.suite101.com)
The Caribbean is well represented on this album in the persons of Omar Puente (violin) from Cuba, Gary Crosby and Nathaniel Facie, both born in London of Jamaican parents, and Jason Yarde (arranger, composer, musician, and Producer on Let Freedom Ring!)
Let Freedom Ring! has attracted nominations for the MOBO award for Best Jazz Act 2004, the BBC Jazz Awards for Best New Work and Best Album 2004, and for the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Album 2004. (wikipedia.org)
Let the music speak for itself, in video and audio…
(Source: Denys Baptiste MySpace page)
The E-Park Band featuring Michael Sean Harris (shown above) and Karen Smith had top billing at Jazz in the Gardens on Sunday, February 22, 2009. Smith in particular roused the audience at the close of the two and a half hour event that she was wooed back on for an encore (All of Me).
We last read about the band in relation to Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival back in January.
Band director is Peter Ashbourne who rotates his roster between the very best Jazz musicians that Jamaica has to offer. Sitting in on this February night were Desi Jones (drums), Dean Fraser (saxophone), Ian Hird (sax and flute), Dwight Pickney (guitar), Othneil Lewis (keyboards) and Glen Brownie (bass).
Friday, 13th February, at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, British Virgin Islands!
by Derry Etkins
I was a bit late for the 8:00 p.m. start by fifteen minutes. Ten minutes after I was admitted into the acoustically pleasing auditorium, the introductory remarks were read by our host for the evening.
In typical concert style, Mr. Richard Ormrod strode onto the stage, looking very dapper in his bow-tie and tails, took his bow and began his performance.
His first offering, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D-Minor by J. S. Bach, established him as a forward-thinking interpreter of Baroque music. His subtle, sparing but effective use of the pedal will contribute to the on-going debate as to the appropriateness of playing Baroque music on the modern piano. There is also discussion about how much “modernisation,” in terms of actually using the pedal, we can or should apply to Baroque music.
Derry Etkins is a Musician/Educator whose career spans three decades, He has been a Radio Presenter and Music Commentator in Guyana and Barbados. Currently, he teaches music at a High School in the British Virgin Islands.
Hot on the heels of the Afropeans CD (Destin-E Records, 2008) celebrating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade by Britain and the 20th anniversary of the album Out of Many, One People highlighting the talent of African-Caribbean Jazz musicians living in England, Courtney Pine is back on the shelves with Tradition In Transition (Destin-E Records, 2009).
Dedicated to the memory of saxophonist Sidney Bechet, Pine naturally melds New Orleans Jazz into his ten-track tapestry. Not content with the historical reference of Nawlins to the Caribbean, he reaches deeper south into the Caribbean sea and across to the Black Continent for yarn that could be threaded together with be-bop, swing and stride piano.
“Why Bechet? Why not? He was the first jazz saxophonist star and I believe jazz icons like this should never be forgotten.” Courtney Pine 2007, courtneypine.co.uk
To authenticate the Caribbean sensibility even more, Dominican Jazz musician Cameron Pierre contributes his acoustic and electric guitars and the mandolin to this recording buoyed by a sextet of he is a part and a cast of invitees that sees vibraphonist Stefon Harris drop in for four of the ten tracks.
Tradition In Transition dropped on February 23, 2009.
Tip the hat to Courtney Pine