Steel Pan Jazz Festival
Trinidad and Tobago Steel Pan and Jazz Festival
We decided that a chance to go to a show at the Queen's Hall was too good an opportunity to miss. We went with Jesse knowing the theatre had great acoustics and air-conditioning. A good excuse to see if I could take pictures at a distance, in half light with no flash. Little did we know what a fabulous night lay ahead. The festival was over three nights and we went to the final night expecting something special.
Pan Jazz formerly known as "Pan Royale", the T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival has now been established as the world's premiere music showcase that presents a musical conversation between two unique artistic expressions that were born and nurtured out of the particular experiences of African people in two distinct environments of the New World, that is, North America and the Caribbean Archipelago. The mix of New Orleans and Cuban Jazz Royalty with the legendary genus of the steelpan and the fusion is fresh, funky and wonderful.
Blue Culture were our first treat. This young group was made up of: Karl Doyle - Drummer, Jabari Fraser - Bassist, Mikhail Salcedo - Tenor Pannist, Venezuelan Simon Mendoza - Pianist and Anthony Woodroffe Jr - Saxophonist and Flautist. On other occasions they are joined by Modupe Onilu - Percussionist and Timothy Newton - Vocalist. Tonight they had a guest guitarist.
Blue Culture are a local Calypso-Jazz band led by twenty five year old Karl Doyle, a drummer and former member of the QRC Jazz Band. Formerly known as Blue Notes, the band has been playing around the popular joints of Port-of-Spain such as Corner Bar and on the Greens in St Augustine. Doyle says "Our music evolves; we refer to what we play as a new Caribbean music". We didn't mind what type the music was called it was really very good.
Next was Alexis Baro a 2005, 2006 and 2007 nominee for Best Trumpet Player at the National Jazz Awards, co-winner of a Juno award and recipient of a Gemini Award for a live television performance with the band Kollage. He has performed with Paquito D’Riviera, David Foster, Andreas Bocelli, John Secada, The Temptations, Hilario Duran, NOJO, CaneFire, Alex Cuba, Son Ache, David Rudder, Kollage, Cassava, Ruben Vazquez, The Puentes Brothers and many more. He is the featured trumpeter on Canadian Idol for the past three seasons. Most recently he opened for Herbie Hancock at the Ottawa Jazz Festival and thrilled an audience of over 10,000 on the main stage at the 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival. “From The Other Side” is the title of his CD. It’s an aural exploration that takes the listener on a journey that starts in Africa with the hypnotic spiritual rhythms of the batá drum who’s origin dates back some 500 years ago from the land of Yorùbá in Nigeria. Their messages of inspiration come alive in Baro’s new modern Cuban-style Latin jazz compositions. The title “From The Other Side”, refers to his Cuban musical roots and his most recent influences since living in Canada. Performing and recording in a variety of styles he has gained an affection for the North American “groove”. The sounds of Blues, Soul, R&B, and Funk are all paid tribute on his latest offering with some new original funk-jazz creations.
Aexis Baro has an amazing talent. "From the other side" will be on my download list as soon as I get back to Beez.
The keyboard player had an amazing shock of red hair. The rest of the band all took solo numbers and were all first class musicians.
After the tea break came the world famous All Stars we have now seen a few times. The first piece was taken from the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves accompanied by a full choir. Next a soloist sang Heal the World. Then they were joined on stage by a dance troupe.
The All Stars finished with one of their favourites called Carnival.
The band have toured Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, China, France, Ghana, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Scotland, St Maarten, the UK and the USA. They have one of the largest repertoires in the land. Also the most played piece of steelband music in the world today is their "Woman on the Bass" arranged by Leon "Smooth" Edwards. All Stars is still today not only the oldest but the most feared band in any competition.
ALL IN ALL WHAT A TERRIFIC NIGHT OUT.