Saturday, 15 June 2013

"Music guine play!!"

The birthday gifts keep coming.  Most of my friends know how to make me truly happy. NO lavish extravagant high priced items for siree!!
I can be won over by the simpler things in life.
They all knew I would be celebrating for an entire week.
Last Saturday. An unexpected gift. A gift that made my heart soar.
A ticket to Sugar Isle Jazz 2013.

The Sugar Isle Jazz Festival is a high calibre Jazz Festival produced by local guy, Deryck Walcott.

The event was held at the Plantation Garden Theatre in the south of the island on Saturday, June 8th, 2013.
The opening act was the local jazz group NJ30+, which I've blogged about before here.
The name NJ3O represents the "new jazz trio" on drums, keyboard and bass guitar, but as the band grew, it was necessary to update the name, hence the "+" at the end, signifying the additional members.
 At Sugar Isle Jazz, they opened the show with Kweku Jelani on trumpet, Rashad Hinds on drums, Joseph Callendar on saxophone, Jerome Waithe on guitar, Andr√© Clarke on keyboard, and bandleader Marias Hawk Bass Charmagne on electric bass guitar.
The band has not yet started to produce their own songs, but their covers of popular songs have a stamp of personal flavour due to their diverse taste in music.

These guys were fantastic!!! For youngsters, I am enthralled by the dedication and professionalism, and most of all their talent. They brought the house down!!!!  All prodigies of the Barbados Community College, I predict they will go very very far.
They played a set that was so well arranged, that my head is still reeling. They had the crowd head bopping, feet tapping, swaying, singing, clapping, dancing and screaming for more. Talk about DYNAMITE!!!!
One groove led into the next effortlessly, and included well-known tunes and melodies, as well as some local calypso and spouge music. See here.
With tunes like The Chicken, Master Blaster, Now that We've Found Love, Emmerton, No Woman  No Cry, No Good, Jack,  Kay Lay lay Pom Pom, (originally done by The Opels, see video below) , and C'yan  be Over, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
For the finale they brought the house down with their own funk rock rendition of, "Come Together"  by the Beatles.


I still can't believe that this band only came together one year ago. The band owes a lot to Arturo Tappin who has been a great mentor, taking them under his wing, and it shows.
The appreciative crowd gave them a long LOUDDD standing ovation which they justly deserved.
Very well done NJ30+!!!! Very well done!!!
As we say here, "It was tight!!!"

The featured performance of the night was the ten-member all-star Caribbean band made up of some of the region's biggest names in music, and led by veteran Barbadian musician Nicholas Brancker.
Nicholas, as I refer to him, is a Grammy-nominated musician who has worked with the likes of Roberta Flack, Cyndi Lauper, Simply Red, and Shabba Ranks.
His debut album," In Contempt" is one of my favorite jazz cds, and has a permanent home in my 50 CD player.
The all-star band was made up as follows:
Nicholas Brancker - Barbados - bass guitar - Band Leader/Arranger
Leston Paul - Trinidad - keyboards - Ace Arranger
Alexis Baro - Cuba - Trumpeter
Alberto Suarez - Cuba - Percussion
Dennis Rollins - Jamaica- Trombone
Robert ‘Robbie’ Greenidge- Trinidad - Steel Pannist extraordinaire has worked with the likes of John Lennon, Grover Washington Jr, Barry Manilow and Earth, Wind & Fire. His music was featured on several movie soundtracks like Hard to Kill, 48 Hours, and also television shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Dynasty, and Saturday Night Live.
James Lovell - Barbados - Drums
Maurice Gordon  - Jamaica - Guitar
Desi Jones - Jamaica - Drums
Andre Daniel - Barbados - Keys

The all-star band was FANTABULOUS!  Under verteran Nicholas's lead, they played all genres of music, and arranged them meticulously to a Caribbean-ness that was incredible. Every single tune played highlighted the musical flavour of the Caribbean but with a contemporary jazz style.
Believe it or not, I'm still reeling.   Calypso/Soca grooves turned into classical opera and then rock and rap too!!!  But still keeping the jazz element.....priceless!
During the four days of rehearsal, the guys gave birth to a tune that up until then, had no title, so Nicholas named it "GPS" right up there on the stage before playing it. It needs to be recorded guys, it was a great piece.

Edwin Yearwood also made a surprise guest appearance and sang his own "Voice in my Head."

Nicholas played a bass guitar solo that had me and others jumping right out of our seats....electrifying I tell you.  That guitar was speaking in tongues when he played  and stroked it during his rendition.  I am still reeling with "I can't believe this!"
Before the show, Nicholas was quoted as saying,  “It has been quite a while performing a full concert set where I have real control over song selection and the interpretation,  so I am really excited and guarantee that the audience will not be disappointed.
There is something in it for everyone – the young, the matured and, more importantly, the lovers of good music.”
You did not disappoint Nicholas.....not at all.

 Nicholas Brancker and the all-star Caribbean band
Photo compliments Nation News
Kind permission C.Martindale

It is a known fact that Bajans like an encore performance, and all international bands that play our stages are forewarned. The show closed with an encore that was SENSATIONAL!!
Nicholas's famous last words, "Music guine play!" certainly rang true, for music certainly was played....a whole lot of sweet music.

To sum it all up...the entire show was PHENOMENAL!!!!

I can hardly wait for Sugar Isle Jazz 2014.

Kay Lay Lay Pom Pom originally done by The Opels...enjoy.


  1. That sounds like a fabulous day! What kind friends to give you such a meaningful gift. :o) That is some booty-shaking music. Love it!!

  2. It was a great performance. I am truly indebted to my friends for their kind and thoughtful gift.
    Glad you enjoyed the body-shaking music video, and that's the original version. Wish I could post the actual performance....the guys rocked it out!!
    I'm looking forward to the Christmas Jazz show now.

  3. I don't know about you Virginia but I often say "I knew all the words it was the order they were in that I couldn't understand." Well when I read the Wiki article on Spouge I didn't even understand a lot of the words although I expect that the order they were in was fine. As for the concert I'm sure that I would have had a great time too. My main listening jazz was always trad and perhaps less severe blues. Dinah Washington's September in the Rain brings tears to my eyes even now. OK I know many will say it's easy listening not jazz but I still think of it as jazz when she sings it.

  4. I grew up listening to spouge. It is not heard very much these days, and so to see these tunes performed so incredibly well by the youngsters made me very proud of them and their music.
    I enjoy traditional jazz, but I must admit that most of my collection is the newer stuff.
    I will check out Dinah Washington's "September in the Rain"....hope it doesn't make me cry.


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