Entertainment

Thumbs up for Jazz Festival

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer staff reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2013    

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PATRONS departed the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium early Sunday morning with overwhelming satisfaction to the three-day Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.

For many, they had seen their favourite acts, be it the international set — Mary J Blige, Michael Bolton, Dionne Warwick, and John Legend. Or, the locals which included, Chaka Demus and Pliers, LUST, Romain Virgo or Etana.

American journalist Patricia Meschino, who writes on Jamaican music for the likes of Vibe and Billboard magazines, was pleased with the roster of acts.

"I loved the all-reggae night (the opening night), it is a great addition to the festival. Although last year they had Celine Dion as the main headliner, this year there is a really good roster of acts which made it all come together," she said.

She lists John Legend, Cocoa Tea and Chaka Demus and Pliers among her standouts, but had special words for Romain Virgo.

"Romain is on another level where his performance is concerned. The last time I saw him was at Sumfest and he had grown so much... clearly a headliner these days.

Meschino was also impressed by the versatility and flexibility of the Jamaican artistes who tailored their sets to fit the discriminating taste of the 'jazz' audience.

When the Jamaica Observer caught up with deejay Lady Saw, she was still mellow in the effects the John Legend performance.

"John Legend kill it," she said gleefully, "I am just loving his whole vibe. He just looked straight into my eyes and sang... but I'm sure he's doing that to every female in this place, she said bursting into laughter. "But seriously, it shows how much he is connecting with his audience and making people feel special.

Lady Saw, who is currently riding a wave of popularity with her latest single Heels On, said she also enjoyed the performances of Mary J Blige and Michael Bolton.

However, musicologist Dr Dennis Howard was not impressed with the performances.

"The performances just not cutting it. I came all this way to see John Legend on piano only? There was nothing really outstanding," Howard noted.

On deeper reflection, he had appreciation for the set by Barbadian saxophonist Arturo Tappin and his band, and vocalists which backed Etana.

"Etana must remember that she is not alone on stage and should give credit to her support team, an introduction would have been good. The band was awesome and her backup singers were really tight," said Howard.

For actress Nadean Rawlins, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is always an event she looks forward to.

"There is a vibe of relaxation and oneness, when everyone sits down to listen to the music that is always nice. It is as if nothing else exists. Even if someone step on your toe you just smile and continue to soak up the music... it really gives meaning to when the music hits you feel no pain.

Rawlins' picks for the festival were John Legend, Romain Virgo and violinist Mijanne Webster.

Bass player for Third World, Richie Daley was in high spirits on the final night.

"I am so sorry I missed Dionne (Warwick) but caught John Legend and he was really great. The festival was great.

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