All That Jazz

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

Was it re­ally ever about the mu­sic any­way? Saint Lu­cia Jazz has al­ways been the place to see, and be seen. Good mu­sic? Well, that was just the cherry on top of a very ex­pen­sive pie. So costly were the events on the jazz cal­en­dar that they were out of reach for most Saint Lu­cians who opted in­stead for side stage jazz events like teatime jazz, the open­ing of Jazz, Fond d'Or, and other events. Oth­ers were for­tu­nate enough to se­cure free tick­ets to take in the full week­end of events that had al­ways been in­tended by or­ga­niz­ers to draw visi­tors to the is­land dur­ing a typ­i­cally low sea­son.

This year, I made up my mind that I would at­tend the fes­ti­val. I hadn't been in years, and crit­ics were buzzing about changes made by or­ga­niz­ers. I wanted to see for my­self what the jazzed up event would have in store. Be­fore I could even get there, of course peo­ple had pre­dicted it would flop. One event pro­moter told me, “They'll be lucky if they get 2,000 peo­ple on both days.”

With low ex­pec­ta­tions from naysay­ers, the re­vamped Jazz Fes­ti­val started with events at Roy­al­ton on Thurs­day and Fri­day, lead­ing the way to David Rud­der's per­for­mance at Pi­geon Is­land. While the event didn't pull a record crowd, most who at­tended the show that also fea­tured Andy Narell and Saint Lu­cian artiste Michael Robin­son felt they'd got­ten their money's worth for top-notch per­for­mances.

Mu­sic-wise, things were look­ing up. I dressed up and showed out on Satur­day to find a much older crowd, and the park a lit­tle more filled than it was the night be­fore. Though I'll be the first to ad­mit I'm not any kind of hard-core jazz fan, Satur­day's arts fanned an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for jazz within me I sus­pect had been build­ing for years. By Sun­day, I was all in. It might have helped that I had the most in­sight­ful con­ver­sa­tion with jazz mu­si­cian Ru­pert Lay, who will be fea­tured in next week­end's edi­tion of the

STAR, whose pas­sion for the art stood out in ev­ery thread of his per­for­mance. His most mem­o­rable words to me were “Mu­sic takes you some­where; jazz takes you all the way.”

Mid­way through Sun­day's per­for­mance I was prac­ti­cally scat­ting along with Rachelle Fer­rell, and tak­ing Vic­tor Provost Quar­tet's per­for­mance like I'd never heard steel pan mu­sic be­fore in my life. And then came Vanessa Wil­liams, and all the nos­tal­gic mo­ments shared with her and the rest of the au­di­ence. Dur­ing her per­for­mance we were taken down mem­ory lane, through her full reper­toire of mu­sic, par­tic­u­larly Save the Best For Last, which I love.

Ev­ery per­former at the event of­fered in­tri­cate unique­ness, and through­out the event, up un­til Mar­tini­can band Malavoi's feel­good clos­ing, I felt as though I was part of a scene that was help­ing bring peo­ple to­gether, through the love of mu­sic. Ac­cord­ing to mu­si­cian Rachelle Fer­rell, “Your my fam­ily, and I'm sat­is­fied.”

What was clear af­ter this year's fes­tiv­i­ties was that some­times the thought of change re­sults in thou­sands of peo­ple protest­ing against a cause, as was seen in Saint Lu­cia last week at the Labour Party-led demon­stra­tion, and at other times it leads to pure seren­ity. I re­ally do wish Soleil, and the Saint Lu­cia Jazz Fes­ti­val, the ab­so­lute best in the fu­ture!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.