David Rudder lauds Jazz Improvisation

NEW YORK – David Michael Rudder, the calypso revolutionary, and one of the headliners of the recent Steel Pan Jazz Concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center, hails the organizers for creating a forum that he says augurs well for the future of calypso music and Caribbean culture.

“From the response to the show and the subsequent heightened interest in calypso music, I believe it lit a spark,” Rudder said. “Since the show, I’ve had numerous calls from players within the jazz community expressing interest in bookings.”

The Father’s Day weekend show, produced by Ralph Ramsey of Abstract Entertainment, sold out two weeks in advance, with a waiting list of hundreds more.

“Our music was once cloaked in an exotic ‘island music’ veil,” Rudder continued. “But suddenly, with the spotlight falling on the jazz aspect of the music, people are paying attention.” Pointing to what he views as a trend toward “moving calypso music away from its usual community enclaves and into halls of prestige,” Rudder declared that it’s “definitely moving forward.”

“This was a great opportunity to showcase the extraordinary talents of musical giants such as David Rudder, Ralph McDonald and Robert Greenidge,” said Ramsey, an electrical engineer by trade. “I am elated that fans, as well as performers, were pleased with the production. It means that we have accomplished our goal – to bring top-level Caribbean entertainment to top-level venues.”

The musical spectacular, which started three years, took place at the Allen Room at The House of Jazz at Lincoln Center and was intimate as well as electrifying. Patrons were treated to a musical journey of moods from McDonald, Greenidge and Rudder to others such as Arturo Tappin, Etienne Charles, Nicholas Brancker and RHEA.

One of the highlights of the night was the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Neville Jules for his pioneering work in the steel band movement.

Before the show, the audience enjoyed a reception in which they had an opportunity to meet radio personalities, receive steel pan instruction and taste some of the Caribbean cuisine provided by the show’s sponsors.

Air Jamaica, Barbados Tourism Authority, Hawks International, MoneyGram, New York Carib News, Ocean View Development Limited, Tropical Paradise Caterers, WACK Radio 90.1 FM and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM together sponsored the concert.

Trumpeter Etienne Charles thrilled the audience at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Looking on are Arturo Tappin on saxophone and Nicholas Brancker on bass. On drums is Buddy Williams.
Photo by: Margot Jordan

From left: Robert Greenidge, Ralph Ramsey, David Rudder, Arturo Tappin and Ralph McDonald.
Photo by: Margot Jordan

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