Musical treats and more at 'Jazz n Cabaret'
Seated in a garden on a chilly night is not the ideal setting for many Jamaicans. Yet, Sunday's opening of the 2018 series of Jazz n Cabaret, in the Gardens: A feast for the senses, proved that it can happen.
Performers and audience alike worked in tandem with the wind. Musicians and vocalists delivered a nice mix of genres, while the audience sang and danced to the beats. Rosalee Vassell and Franklene Frater were among them. Both are a regular to the concert series.
"It really was a fabulous show," they described it. And explained that it is the crowd and the selection of music and musicians why they attend the show.
On Sunday, at The Pegasus hotel Gardens, New Kingston, their senses were again stimulated. Also, they would have been entertained before, by the line up of up-and-coming artistes, except one, US-based Ashaala Shanae.
Her presence added the international flavour to the programme. In her first appearance on the jazz n cabaret show, she started her set with an Alicia Keys song, followed by Marvin Gaye's What's Going On.
Having asked the question, the American provided an answer, ending with, "We can be a part of the solution." She dedicated her last song - a modernised arrangement of Nat King Cole's Unforgettable - to the audience.
The show however, started with the customary welcome by returning MC Michael Anthony Cuffe. And after a musical interlude from Pon Fyah Band, Rosemarie Lee opened on a strong note. Subsequent acts Dje, Ian Andrews and Azuri continued the trend. Dje and Azuri showed great vocal quality, while Andrews was a burst of energy.
Saxophonist Verlando Small performed ahead of closing act Pesoa.
Small, the 2013 Digicel Rising Star, showed that he only got better over the years. Starting with I will Always Love You, he took the music to the audience, literally. Moving down the centre aisle, he caressed the ears of unsuspecting females, triumphing over nature's chill with the warmth of his music, albeit temporarily.
Pesoa was also engaging. On trumpet, he announced his entry with Somewhere Over the Rainbow. But Sunday's temperature was not one for slow tempo music. So it was on to the more upbeat Sense of Purpose.
That, too, was short-lived as the 2012 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Festival song winner, perhaps for sentimental reason, returned to Fly Me to the Moon. The song was one of the first he learnt from the late Sonny Bradshaw.
"The Jamaica response to that is this," he said, and segued to ska rhythms Carry Goh Bring Come, Wings of a Dove and more.
Pesoa's set - and by extension, the concert - fittingly ended with his winning single Oh If We Could Love Each Other.
The next Jazz n Cabaret, will be held on April 29, 2018.