Jazz Cabaret - A feast of the best
When acts of the calibre of Tony Gregory and Harold Davis appeared in the first segment of the concert, it was a strong signal that the organisers of Jazz Cabaret in the Gardens were serious about showcasing 'the best'. So it was on Tuesday, Boxing Day, when the best performers from Jazz in the Gardens 2017 concert series were put on show once again.
Marsha Beckford, Jasmine Black, Maria Myrie, Myrna Hague and Dwight Richards completed the line-up. Hague and Richards performed in the second segment of the programme.
Hague was her classy self. She opened her set with Our Love is Here to Stay, and she extended an open invitation to the audience at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel ballroom with Just Call Me. This was extended with a wish for love. The class vocalist became reflective with Send in the Clowns, and closed her set with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Richards closed the show. His contribution was contagious and 'awe-inspiring'.
"I was having flu for four days. Even today I was coughing like crazy," he shared with The Gleaner.
"I was feeling miserable, and ah say how me ah go do it [perform]." And with that "ah just change the energy. And the people dem was amazing. This is how it happens if you give me your energy, I feed off your energy, and that's what happened. The people were amazing. And Dean Fraser come and surprised me. It's just music." And so a fully energised Richards gave a closing set and performance worthy for a feast.
Alternating between his voice and trumpet, he took the audience through songs of various genres and themes: Hold Me Tight, Oh Holy Night and Diamonds on Your Shoes (with Dean Fraser) before taking the audience to church and into the 10 p.m., timeline with a medley of gospel songs that included I'm Under the Rock and Worthy is the Man. And the "minister" ended his churchly act at the door of the ballroom, thanking and wishing the audience good tidings.
"No matter what problem you have in the world, as you hear the music play it goes; for 2018, positive vibes, nothing negative. It's all about celebrating life and more music," he added.
Before Richards and Hague performed, there was a jazz-flavoured appetiser from the Pon Fyah band and positive and encouraging words from poet Beckford. Black and Myrie contributed three songs each to the feast. Gregory followed with an engaging set that included a creative arrangement of Bob Marley's Don't Worry about a Thing. He closed with his up-tempo signature song, Gypsy Girl.
Davis, with a fully orchestra, delivered a potpourri of musical themes and genres. His set included Me and Mrs Jones, generating screams from the females, as well as Seretes Small's arrangement of What a Bam Bam, which had the audience rocking.
It was indeed an enjoyable show. The emcee was Michael Edwards, and the Energy Plus mento band added to the flavour.