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Jazz Festival Recap

02/03/10

Permalink 08:55:19 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Entertainment, Commentary

Jazz Festival Recap

So.... I luckily came across 2 tickets to the Jazz festival one for Thursday night and one for saturday night thanks to me having some really epic family and friends (thanks again guys) and because of that I got to take in the 3 main nights of the Jazz festival... or well at least some of the nights. I say some of the nights not only because I only got tickets for 2 of the 3 main show nights, but because I am Jamaican, this means that unless its a flight or some other reason why you MUST be on time... I am not gonna be on time. Dunno why, its just part of our culture. This is almost doubled in the case where it is a party or other social event, set a start time of 7 o clock, nobody will be there till 9, start at 9 expect people strolling in at 12 or 1. In this case I honestly did not know of what time the Jazz Festival started... so I aimed to reach there at 9, and didnt reach there before 10:30 on any night. But this isn't about the fact that Jamaicans love to be "fashionably late" its about the recent Jazz festival.

Thursday Night - (Acts: Babyface, the Whispers, Joss Stone, Monty Alexander, Joe Roy Jackson)

I was really looking forward to seeing Monty Alexander, Joss Stone and Babyface, mainly because these were the acts I could more associate myself with. I never heard of this Joe Roy Jackson fellow before so I wont even pretend like I knew who he was, but I am pretty opened minded with my musical choices so I wouldnt mind seeing him too. Unfortunately my lateness meant that I only got to see two acts however in Babyface and the Whispers. Now I wont deny it... Babyface was pretty good. I thought he could've been much much better but his performance was pretty good nontheless. He went through alot of his old hits, and he also touched on songs that he wrote for other people as well. His performance was high energy (an aspect which I appreciated) and included as many songs as he could find and went on for a whopping 90 minutes and the crowd loved every second, definitely the star of thursday's show.

babyface**picture from the Jamaica Gleaner

He was followed by the Whispers, a group which I am sure most young Jamaicans have never heard of before(excluding me of course), but I am sure most people were surprised to know some of the really popular songs which this group had actually sang. They did hit songs such as The beat goes on, Rock Steady, No Pain No Gain, and So good, and the crowd did show their appreciation by staying out in the pouring rain and dancing while they did their thing.  I am truly sad because I missed Monty Alexander (I love his jazz reggae renditions), but I heard he also performed excellently.

Saturday (Acts: Gladys Knight, Third World, Hall & Oates, John Secada, Marion Hall)

As I wont write about something that I didn't experience, I'm skipping the friday night writeup (Though I wish I was there... really wanted to hear Billy Ocean and the Queen Project and Machel Montano), however you can read the Gleaner's review of Friday night if you wish. However on to Saturday.

I was slightly earlier for saturday than for thursday so I actually got to see all of 3 performances! The night for me started with Hall & Oates, in my opinion they sang alot of excellent songs such as Love TKO, Maneater, and Out of Touch, however the suffered from what I can only call the ennui syndrome... quite frankly they were boring as hell! As a Jamaican I wont deny that we expect alot from our performers and we want our performers to work and Hall & Oates didnt work, they literally sat on stage and simply just sang their songs through and through. You could see the apparent boredom on everybody's faces as people even began to walk around (me included) simply not caring about what was happening on the stage, and I guess their way of livening up their act was bringing on Billy Ocean and Maxi Priest to perform 2 songs with them. Its not that their performance was necessarily bad, its just not up to what Jamaicans like to see from our performers.

Gladys Knight

They left at some apparent time of the night (I wasn't paying attention) and the stage was then graced with the presence of Gladys Knight. To say that Gladys Knights performance was a breath of fresh air is an understatement, the crowd was on their feet for her entire act and she did sing her heart out. Listing all the songs she did would also be more or less a waste of time because she sang all of her hits and hits from other people that inspired her as well including her version of Boys II Men's End of the Road which was met well from the crowd. While she looked like she was getting up in the years she really didn't show it as she was very energetic and got the crowd involved, her backup singers also were a major part of her performance and during a motown medley they had a friendly rivalry as to who could sing the best (Gladys Won), but in its entirety, the fun was shared by everyone and she was well appreciated. So much so in fact that she had to be called back on the stage for an encore and even after the encore the crowd still wanted more.

third world

Finally Third World came on stage, next to Gladys they were the act I was most anticipating and I was not in any way disappointed. While the night air was chilly we were heated up when they started with 1865 (96 Degrees), and then moved into the rest of their chart toppers like Try Jah Love, Reggae Ambassador, Sense of Purpose, Forbidden Love and much more. Their performance also included a section where Cat Coore took out his Cello and did alot of reggae hits on his instrument much to the delight of the crowd. I personally didn't know he could play the Cello, nor did I know he could play it that well but he played the strings off that Cello. The third world drummer (whose name slips me) also had a section for himself where he played on his congo drums and got the crowd chanting with him. The performance ended with their song Now that we found love and to me it was a beautiful end to the Jazz Festival.

The Venue

The move to the trelawny multipurpose stadium was one which was filled with mixed reviews, alot of people would've preferred it to stay in Montego Bay (the tourist mecca of Jamaica), but a few people saw the possibility where it wouldn't pose any problems, I was one of those people. To me the crowd was quite similar to the ones in previous years, though it may not seem that way because the venue was much larger than the golf course that it was held on before. Also It wasn't as frustrating to get in and out of the venue as before as there was ample parking space for both VIPs and regular patrons, also nobody had to carry seats with them because if you wanted to sit you could simply go and sit on the stands. With that in mind I really didnt mind the venue, though I'm hearing from alot of people that they in fact did, my only grouse was getting to the bathrooms... Lets just say I am glad I wasnt in any dire straights and needed to be there in less than a minute.

The Sound

I couldnt end my review of the jazz festival without speaking on this, and to be honest every year I have this problem with the Jazz Festival, the sound is poor! There are times when the band will be louder than the singers, the singers too loud, the backup singers overpowering the lead singer, the entire volume is low, and issues go on. I dont believe it is an equipment problem myself because I have seen where one band will sound great while the one just before them sounded really horrible (kinda like Gladys Knight sounded horrible but Third World's sound was excellent), I think it is just laziness or lack of training by the sound engineers. Alot of the times sound engineers in Jamaica are really just people who know a thing or two about the equipment and music and they get put in charge of doing the tweaking and testing. However I hope that people realize that sound engineering is actually an entire area of study, people get degrees to do this kinda work and I think Jamaica is in need of a few genuine sound engineers to help the quality of our stage shows to really pop.

All in all I really enjoyed the 2010 Jazz festival and hope that the show continues to make large strides and gets better (and cheaper) next year.

 

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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