Di­vas & mae­stros

shine at Jazz in the Gar­dens

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mar­cia Rowe Gleaner Writer

THE BIMONTHLY Jazz in the Gar­dens Con­cert held at The Pe­ga­sus ho­tel has be­come a main­stay in the mu­si­cal diet of a num­ber of Ja­maicans, and the or­gan­is­ers have taken note.

The re­cent stag­ing not only had the au­di­ence rock­ing and sing­ing to the melo­di­ous voices of mu­si­cal icons, but also some ris­ing artistes. All were backed by a band of highly ac­claimed mu­si­cians. But there were some un­ex­pected fea­tures – Grub Cooper sing­ing jazz, as well as the ex­pan­sion of the seat­ing ar­eas.

“Some say sky­box, I say VIP Pav­il­ion. You have to cre­ate a lit­tle more com­fort for the guests,” said Ken Nel­son of the or­gan­is­ing team, in ex­plain­ing the new el­e­vated VIP Lounge, con­structed be­hind the gen­eral seat­ing area of the gar­dens. The well-dec­o­rated sec­tion boasted an allinclu­sive ex­pe­ri­ence, and of­fered an over­head view of the medium-height stage.

Re­gard­less of where they were seated, all the guests at the New Kingston-based event were served equal doses of per­for­mances from the likes of Myrna Hague, Grub Cooper, Karen Smith, Alex Wel­come, Christina Smith, and Courtni Jack­son.

Jack­son was the first to serve up a treat with Ain’t No­body Loves Me Bet­ter – her doting mother, Karen Smith, later bring­ing her wa­ter and wip­ing per­spi­ra­tion. Af­ter a pow­er­ful ren­di­tion of Whit­ney Hous­ton’s If I Don’t Have

You, the up-and-com­ing vo­cal­ists passed the ba­ton to an­other up-and-com­ing vo­cal­ist.


Christina Smith is not a house­hold name in Ja­maica. In fact, this young Cana­dian, only 19, was per­form­ing on a Jamaican stage for the first time; well, not if you count the venues for the Ja­maica Cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion com­pe­ti­tions, where she per­formed as a young stu­dent at St An­drew Prepara­tory School, she proudly shared with The Gleaner.

She be­gan her set with serv­ings from the old school. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You was her ap­pe­tiser. And with that, she con­tin­ued her jour­ney back in time, be­fore re­turn­ing to the very con­tem­po­rary Let’s Get Loud. Alex Wel­come’s per­for­mance picked up where Christina left off. He was clin­i­cal with his open­ing, It’s A Man’s World, and was just as ef­fi­cient with Natalie Cole’s Orange Coloured Sky. He closed his very en­ter­tain­ing act with his all-time favourite jazz song, Sum­mer Time.

Karen Smith closed the first half of the show. She was at her usual best, do­ing a med­ley of full-length songs.

Grub Cooper was “like you have never seen him be­fore”, ac­cord­ing to MC Michael Cuff. Per­form­ing jazz for the first time, the Fab 5 band mem­ber wooed his au­di­ence with songs such as The Way You Look Tonight, Get Up, Stand Up and Lovely Day.

Myrna Hague brought the cur­tain down on ‘Jazz in the Gar­dens: A Feast for the Senses, Mae­stros and Di­vas’.

She had the au­di­ence gorg­ing on such de­lights as Mem­o­ries, Fall­ing in Love and a med­ley of other songs, be­fore call­ing on Mar­jorie Whylie to ac­com­pany her on key­board with Love is here to Stay.

Back­ing band Desi Jones and Friends also added the ic­ing on top, touched with a daz­zling dis­play of their skills on their re­spec­tive in­stru­ments.

The fi­nal show for 2016 is sched­uled for De­cem­ber 26.


Mar­jorie Whylie and Michael Cuff.

Courtni Jack­son (left) and mother Karen Smith.

Christina Smith

Alex Wel­come

Myrna Hague

Grub Cooper

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