Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Jazz returns to the high seas

Published:Wednesday | May 24, 2017 | 5:00 AM
Lorraine Klaasen

Fresh from a successful debut last year, patrons say they are ready again for another motion on the ocean, making the Jazz Cruise an additional major element on the programme of the International Ocho Rios Jazz Festival once more.

The 2017 renewal of the cruise sets sail at 6 p.m., from the Port Royal Street Dock, downtown Kingston, on Sunday, May 28, beginning aboard the double-decker Caribbean Queen for a cruise around the Kingston Harbour, sailing past the Newport Port West industrial centre and the historic fishing village of Port Royal, and returning to shore at 10 p.m.

"We came up with the idea of a jazz cruise last year, and it truly exceeded our expectations," says festival director and co-founder Myrna Hague, so we're delighted to bring it back this year. We've worked on improving some of the logistics and the service so that our patrons can enjoy the experience even more."

Last year's cruise was indeed a rollicking affair, with the Belgium-based Freddie Loco ska band kicking the beat all the way across the harbour. Before and after their set, the evergreen selector Gladdy and the Wild Bunch kept patrons rocking with the waves and the sounds of the great tunes.

This year, there will be Carl Winther and the Grand Beat from Denmark, while the seagoing jazz lovers are in for a real treat with the addition of South African star Lorraine Klaasen to the jazz line-up. Once again, Gladdy will be at the controls in-between to keep patrons dancing.

The 27th annual International Ocho Rios Jazz Festival gets going on May 27 at the FDR Resort in St Ann and culminates on June 4 inside the bandshell at Kingston's Hope Gardens. In addition to the cruise, this year's programme includes a jazz workshop at the Mico University College Lecture Theatre for music students, free concerts and jam sessions at various venues, and a special 'Eastern Edition' at the famous Somerset Falls, in Portland.

Sponsors who continue to support the festival include The Jamaica Tourist Board, The Gleaner, KOOL 97, LS Labels and Supplies Centre Limited, Stage Records, Chung's Catering, Moon Palace Jamaica Grande and Somerset Falls.