Air Jamaica Jazz hits a high note and a sour note

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Drastic improvements to parking and venue access were high on the list of pluses for patrons at the recently concluded Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival presented by Olint TCI. With minimal congestion, patrons were able to access and depart the venue in an orderly and timely manner.

High Notes

The thousands of patrons that turned out to The Aqueduct on Rose Hall venue were in large part pleased with the performances delivered. Anita Baker’s Thursday night performance was a wonderful mix of camaraderie and an intimate exploration of soul that was well embraced. The crowd responses and involvement moved the diva of soul who was visibly shaken by the reception.

Jill Scott performed on Friday Night

The energetic combination of instruments and a superb African opera singer held audiences captive on Friday during Hugh Masekala’s performance. While Saturday night’s show started with a wonderful mixture of soul, legend and superb vocals, Christopher Martin, Nikki Yonofsky, Mary Mary and Koko Taylor, thrilled audience with stellar performances engaging them in musical raptures. Billy Ocean’s energetic performance was a fitting close to an excellent event.

Sour Note

With a crowd of over 30,000 people, the much anticipated performance of Diana Ross’ on Saturday proved somewhat disappointing to many patrons who expected a very interactive set. Miss Ross’ request to have a restricted display of her performance however, inconvenienced patrons who were left feeling distanced from the stage and her performance.

Diana Ross performed to boos from the crowd after they were unable to see her on the video screen. Attendees in the VIP area had their view blocked.

TurnKey Productions, the organizers of the Festival, regrets the inconvenience to patrons and sincerely hopes that this experience will not negate the wonderful overall experience. Walter Elmore, Festival Producer, indicated that limited notice of this restriction was given. Delano Forbes, of Phase Three Productions, noted that image magnification is a standard within the industry and as such Miss, Ross’ request for a limited display just before her performance was surprising. However in the interest of patrons’ enjoyment of the Festival a compromise was reached which saw a controlled display of her entire performance.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Attends Jazz Festival

Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, was among the thousands of Jamaicans and visitors to the island, who were thrilled by high quality performances from local and international acts, on the opening night of the 11th annual Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival on Thursday (Jan. 24), in Montego Bay.

Prime Minister, Bruce Golding (left), listens to a comment from Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Carrole Guntley, as they tour booths on Thursday’s (Jan. 24) opening of the three-night Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in Rose Hall, Montego Bay. Sharing the moment at right is Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett.

A number of government ministers, private sector officials, and members of the opposition, were also in attendance.

The bumper crowd at the show venue in Rose Hall was rocked by performances from soul singer Anita Baker; former lead singer of Kool and the Gang, JT Taylor; and local act A.J. ‘Boots’ Brown. There were also steller performances from the jazz band Spyro Gyra, while Latin group,Yerba Buena rock the venue with the sounds of slasa and samba.

In a message released by the organizers of the festival, Turnkey Productions, the Prime Minister said that the annual festival adds its own value to the tourism product, as it has been able to attract thousands of visitors from as far as Europe, as well as the United States and the Caribbean.

The show, the Prime Minister said, has become a highly anticipated social event, which brings families and friends together in a spirit of camaraderie and also offers an opportunity for new and rising stars to showcase their talent to a wide cross section of patrons.

He commenced the organizers, who, over the last 11 years, have been able to bring to Jamaicans and visitors, a package of world-class and topnotch international and local entertainers.

“The excitement and fervour surrounding this year’s event is a clear signal that it will be one of the biggest shows to date,” the Prime Minister’s statement said.

He also lauded the many sponsors, who have remained committed to the festival over the years and welcomed the new ones who have come on board.

Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, in her message, pointed out that the festival is one of the exciting and greatly anticipated events on the entertainment calendar, which attracts many visitors from overseas as well as enthusiastic local patrons.

“This unique event offers a rich feast of musical sounds from many other countries, while highlighting our own home-grown reggae music. A platform for excellence, it features international stars from home and abroad as well as new talents bursting on the scene,” she stated.

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