Final Jazz in the Street for 2014 tomorrow
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Tomorrow evening, for the third consecutive month and the final time this year, the grounds of Southdale Plaza will be transformed by a combination of music and a special setting for listening and dancing.
Playing the live music will be the Alpha All-Star Quartet of 'Sparrow' Martin (drums), Channeil Christian (trumpet), Damon Riley (saxophone) and Jeffrey Graham (keyboards), with special guest for the event Joelle. Before the musicians start at 9 p.m., from 8 p.m., there will be Alpha Jazz and recorded music featuring persons like Joe Harriott and Bertie King.
Joshua Chamberlain, music coordinator at the Alpha Institute, describes a setting for Jazz in the Street, which includes plants being brought in and tables arranged so that the vehicles going past are close, but nobody gets in each other's way.
"We take over the parking lot in Southdale and basically transform the whole place," Chamberlain said. "Cars go right by, but it is organised so they are not going through."
The action is centred around The Wine Shop in Southdale Plaza at 1 South Avenue, St Andrew. The Wine Shop, co-owned by Ahmet 'Ossie' Osman and Sean Gonzales, is responsible for the decor, and Chamberlain said Jazz in the Street began when Osman saw the band perform.
"He is a fan of jazz and he saw the Alpha All-Stars play. He asked me if they would play an event. That morphed into Jazz in the Street," Chamberlain said. "You are in the the street, basically, and there is amazing music for at least two hours."
The first staging in October with about eighty persons. Last month, there was seating for 100 persons and it was all taken. Tomorrow's closing staging for 2014 promises to be bigger. "People can call and book tables and there is a lounge area where anyone can walk in and take a seat or stand," Chamberlain said. Jazz in the Street is free.
"Even tough you are outside, you feel like you are walking into a place you have never been," he said.
It also affords listeners a close-up experience with those playing the songs.
"There is this interesting relationship between the musicians and the audience, with dialogue and people calling out songs. Everyone's very close, even though there it is a generous amount of space," Chamberlain said.
For 2015, Jazz in the Street should be "hopefully bigger and better. There is a lot of excitement. It is different. It is not something you hear or see or feel on a regular basis".
"We would like to continue it. There is so much we can do," Chamberlain said. "It is a great venue to do different things."