Barbados Jazz Festival off to a good start

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The curtain rose at Sunbury Plantation House promptly at 8 p.m. on Monday night with American pianist Robert Glasper and his trio providing some stimulating listening to open the 14th annual Barbados Jazz Festival .

With a program that avoided the standard repertoire, they challenged the intellect of jazz listeners with their highly crafted, irregular rhythms. Following intermission, they joined fellow American trumpeter Terrence Blanchard and his saxophonist to offer yet more originals designed, Blanchard maintained, to fine their own voice even if it meant breaking the rules of traditional jazz.

Local Barbadian award-winning R&B crooner Hal Linton and fellow Barbadian steel plan player David “Ziggy” Walcott offered well-orchestrated renditions at Heritage Park/ The Rum Factory in St. Philip during the festival’s second night on Tuesday which also attracted a full house.

“We are ready,” proclaimed Gilbert Rowe of GMR Productions, when asked this week how plans had been shaping up for the Festival. A Barbadian whose company produces the annual event, he predicted that this year’s festival would be special. As usual, post concert jazz sessions, held at various hotels on island, continue to be part and parcel of the festival.

On Wednesday, Macy Gray and Marissa Lindsay are slated to perform at the Garfield Sobers Auditorium, while Barbadians and visitors alike brace themselves for an extended weekend line-up which includes Karen “The Lady in Red” Briggs at The Crane Resort and Residences on Thursday; Anita Baker at the Garfield Sobers Auditorium on Friday; Arturo Sandoval, Arturo Tappin and Stanley Clarke at Farley Hill National Park on Saturday, and at the same venue on Sunday, Ruben Studdard, Will Downing and Goapele.

Rowe said the festival’s partnership with BET J, in association with the Barbados Tourism Authority, has taken the festival’s public awareness “to another level.” “It’s always a pleasure working with (BET J executives) Paxton (Baker) and Cybelle (Brown) and everyone at BET,” he explained.

Previews of the festival have recently aired on BET J’s “Island Lime” format on Saturdays as well as on BET. In addition, a heavy advertising rotation was carried on BET J, VH1 Soul and other channels, including mainstream radio stations in Atlanta and New York. Actress Kim Fields travels to Barbados this week to produce a full one hour program on the festival and on Barbados’ sites and attractions.

For more information on the Barbados Jazz Festival, visit www.barbadosjazzfestival.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button