update 3, December 05, 2008
Cayman Jazz Fest 08 (version number 5) sounded off again on Grand Cayman on December 04 and will run through December 06. J-Fans have been flocking to Pedro St. James and Pageant Beach for a serving of the typical BET J fare of Classic and Smooth Jazz, R&B with some variations, and of course, Jazz with Caribbean inflections.
Making the rounds of the main stages are Adult Contemporary Jazz vocalist Anita Baker; Smooth Jazz saxophonist/bassist Gerald Albright; the eclectic Cassandra Wilson; and 23 year-old bass phenom Esperanza Spalding, among others.
Without an official outfest, the band Mainstream and singer KK Alese lead the pack of opening acts at Pedro and Pageant. The other local acts who have been signed up for the festival are Jonathan Ebanks (guitar), Impulz (show band) and Stuart Wilson (guitar, vocals) & Love Culture.
No stranger to the Cayman Jazz Fest, KK Alese will bring to bear her unique fusion of Nu-Jazz in the vein of Jill Scott, the quirkiness of Nina Simone, the adult contemporary stylings of Baker, the classic soul of Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin with the Reggae of Jimmy Cliff.
And the influences do not stop there. Nor will the music.
Alese performs on the final night, Saturday, December 06, with bassist Esperanza Spalding, pop instrumentalist Norman Brown and Baker at the top of the bill. Also on this night is the blue-eyed soul of Robin Thicke.
On opening night, Thursday, December 04, at Pedro St. James, Mainstream ushered in Albright and Wilson, with Terrance Howard as the undercard.
December 05, one would have dressed casually for the heaviest offering of Caymanian talent – on any one night – in Impulz, Jonathan Ebanks and Stuart Wilson & Love Culture.
Then work your way as far forward as possible for the start of the Pageant Beach Pop Fest 08 featuring Algebra, Angie Stone and Michael Bolton. (Disclaimer: I must have been high on something when I typed this last line.)