BRT weekend on in Florida

Jamaica Gleaner - - 24/7 -

Monty Alexan­der stand­ing in front of the fa­mous Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.

After his suc­cess­ful an­nual Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Fes­ti­val and a con­cert at the South Mi­ami Dade Cul­tural Cen­tre to­mor­row, Ja­maican-Amer­i­can pi­anist Monty Alexan­der will make his way to his home­town, Kingston, Ja­maica, to do a con­cert for the Christ­mas hol­i­days. The event will be held on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 11, start­ing at 7 p.m. in the ball­room of The Ja­maica Pe­ga­sus ho­tel, New Kingston.

The con­cert is be­ing pre­sented by the Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI), un­der the dis­tin­guished pa­tron­age of the Most Honourable P.J. Pat­ter­son, former prime min­is­ter of Ja­maica and pa­tron of The UWI’s Global Giv­ing Pro­gramme, and Sir Hi­lary Beck­les, vice-chan­cel­lor of UWI.

Named ‘Home for Christ­mas’, the con­cert will see the sil­vered-haired mu­si­cal icon and The Har­lemKingston Ex­press (named after his award-win­ning al­bum) break­ing his 10-year ab­sence on the Kingston

en­ter­tain­ment land­scape.

His in­ter­na­tional suc­cess, span­ning his five-decade ca­reer, has not waned Alexan­der’s love for Ja­maica, as he said while be­ing in­ter­viewed re­cently on the Mi­ami-based ra­dio pro­gramme, ‘Caribbean Rid­dims’, hosted by Eddy Ed­wards: “With­out Ja­maica, I would be noth­ing. It is a her­itage and cul­ture that’s into my soul and be­ing in a very deep way. I was given a mu­si­cal gift wrapped up in the whole spirit of mento and ska, which is the cor­ner­stone be­hind the mu­sic of jazz ... This has given me the free­dom to ex­plore all types of mu­si­cal ex­pres­sions,” Alexan­der said.

Among Alexan­der’s many ac­co­lades is Com­man­der of the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion for out­stand­ing ser­vices to Ja­maica as a world­wide mu­sic am­bas­sador.

In the Hal Leonard’s 2005 book, The Fifty Great­est Jazz Pi­ano Play­ers of All Time, Alexan­der was listed among the top five jazz pi­anists. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Ger­man Jazz Tro­phy – A Life for Jazz – and in the same year re­ceived the Caribbean Amer­i­can Her­itage Lu­mi­nary Award.

The Caribbean-themed BRT Weekend, which is in its fifth year, is on in the Florida Keys this weekend with a se­ries of all-in­clu­sive events be­tween Key Largo and Is­lam­orado.

The beach trip weekend shifts into full gear to­day with a Hawai­ian-themed party and rounds off with an all-white event on Sun­day. Or­gan­iser and pro­moter Hans Mullings said “We are re­ally, re­ally ex­cited. For the fifth year, we are go­ing to add a lot of ac­cents. We are adding dancers, flame throw­ers, drum­mers, to name a few things.”

Mullings said ‘Xtreme Wet and Wild’, planned for day two, is one of the big­gest events of the weekend and is sim­i­lar to the an­nual ‘Xtreme Wet and Wild’ party which he and his busi­ness part­ner, Paul Matthews, started in Ja­maica.

Par­ty­go­ers can ex­pect to en­joy mu­sic from se­lec­tors such as Chro­matic, Jazzy T, Cop­per­shot, Dutty Dexx, Nicco, Pri­vate Ryan, to name a few, and guest en­ter­tain­ers such as dance­hall artiste Kon­shens and soca artiste Kes. Gully Bop


From left: Stephen Mar­ley, Damian Mar­ley, Hans Mullings and Baby Cham at last year stag­ing of BRT Weekend in Florida, USA.

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