ST. LUCIA Jazz Festival will, this year, be offering more than just Jazz music at its annual festival, as the organizers have sought to incorporate Caribbean Reggae and Soca into the mix.
Jamaican reggae group TOK and Trinidad and Tobago’s soca star Machel Montano, who dominated the 2006 Trinidad and Tobago carnival are now on the line-up of the world famous St. Lucia Jazz Festival.
Add these outstanding Caribbean musical acts to Britain’s Seal, Babyface, Nancy Wilson, Poncho Sanchez, the Reverend Al Green, Freddy Cole, Kenny Garrett, Ciara, and Rihanna, the St. Lucia Jazz should have an event to remember when the music starts from May 5, 2006.
According to Alex of TOK, the incorporation of reggae and soca music into the Jazz festival in St. Lucia this year is indeed timely and ideal.
"I think they (the organizers) just want to capture a wider cross-section of the audience and TOK is just the right blend to bring the reggae to mix with the soca and jazz. We actually have the We Nuh Giving Up remix which features Machel and Doug E Fresh, so actually, everything just work out perfectly," Alex said.
In addition to that, Alex said the group was not sure about their schedule for the remainder of the Carnival season, as they were putting the final touches to their next album.
"Wi not really sure how wi schedule stay because wi working on wi next album right now, the album is almost complete and hopefully should be out by this Fall," Alex said.
Machel Montano, who is also scheduled to appear at the St Lucia Jazz Festival, could not be reached for a comment up until press time. Montano had recently performed at the Trinidad Carnival and was scheduled to appear with his Xtatik band at The Mas Camp Village in Jamaica over the weekend.
According to one of the organizers of St. Lucia Jazz, who requested that his name not be published, told The Gleaner that it was traditional to incorporate other genres of music on the opening night.
"It is traditional that during the Jazz festival that there be a big opening night and it was pretty much just Jazz acts, but we incorporated Reggae and Soca and it’s pretty much become a staple," he said.
He also went on to say, "the response is usually excellent because you have all these musical genres appealing to everyone, you get a nice blend of music during the festival and it is also a nice opportunity for Caribbean artistes to shine during the festival."
The Organizers have also disclosed that the menu will also include the Jazz Guitar Trio, featuring St. Lucia’s Boo Hinkson, Michael Boothman and Stanley Jordan; St. Lucian group Sisterhood; and the Jazz Project featuring Everette Harp, Omar Hakim, Nelson Rangel and Morris Pleasure will also perform at this year’s event.
"We’re excited," said native St. Lucian Cybelle Brown, vice-president for Sales and Marketing for BET Event Productions and for BET Digital Networks, whose network produces and promotes the festival in concert with the St. Lucia Tourist Board. "2006 St. Lucia Jazz is going to be another great event, capping 15 years of dynamic performances and the promotion of St. Lucia’s vibrant culture and unspoiled charm," she said.
Brown disclosed that a preview show, hosted by actress Kim Fields and showcasing the wonders of St. Lucia, was currently on rotation on BET J. Upcoming air dates are on April 1, April 22 and April 29, to be aired each day at 1 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. (the following morning).
Highlights of 2005 St. Lucia Jazz are scheduled for airing on BET on April 12 at 2 a.m., and on BET J on April 8 and May 6 at 1 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 1 a.m. (the following morning).
Since its establishment in 1992, St. Lucia Jazz has grown in magnitude and stature to become one of the preeminent Jazz festivals in the world, featuring multiple shows daily, ranging from acoustic, to new age and straight-ahead jazz, soul, fusion and R & B. Unique to the festival are its "fringe" events, which are held in a variety of locations and venues around the island.
–Teino Evans, Staff Reporter, JAMAICA GLEANER