Tue | May 26, 2020

Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival turns 29

Published:Sunday | May 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
Grub Cooper and Myrna Hague share a laugh at Friday’s launch.
Festival Director Myrna Hague reveals the plans for the 29th staging of the International Ocho Rios Jazz Festival at last Friday’s launch.

The unorthodox space at The Wine Shop in Southdale Plaza, St Andrew, was the location for the unveiling of plans for the 29th staging of the annual International Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival.

The six-day jazz feast, that will span the parish of St Ann and Kingston, promises to educate and entertain all ages when it runs from Sunday, June 3 to Sunday June 10.

Director of the festival, Myrna Hague, told the gathering that the opening day will take place at FDR Hotel in Runaway Bay, with a jazz party on the Tuesday at Moon Palace, Ocho Rios, who have been a sponsor of the event for 28 years.

The activities for the week will this year feature for the fourth time, a jazz workshop/seminar at The Mico University College. Hague explained that there will be "a panel discussion of some students and musicians to interact and talk about the subject". The theme will be 'What does jazz mean to you'. Marjorie Whylie and Frankie Campbell are slated to join the discussion.

Campbell told The Gleaner that he wants to inform the young people that Jamaica has a strong musical legacy "not just Bob Marley alone, but that our first big pop star was Lord Flee in the 50s".

This year, the Jazz Cruise is out, but the Jamaica Music Museum, one of the departments of the Institute of Jamaica, will be the venue for the Jazz Concert - Twin Double, featuring Stephen Scott, Marjorie Whylie, Curtis Lundy and Myrna Hague.

Herbie Miller, who was instrumental in this partnership, explained that the reason for the partnership is simply because "Jamaica has always produced outstanding jazz musicians, and we thought to, in an institutional way, connect with the jazz festival".

The closing day for the festival will remain at the Hope Gardens Band Shell. Among the acts will be Freddy Loca Ska/Jazz Group out of Belgium, June Lawson, Jamaica's Big Band, Indigo and more.

Grub Cooper, who was among the attendees, told The Gleaner what makes jazz so special.

"Jazz is special because the audience is purist, they appreciate artistry. It [jazz] soothes the minds and the souls on like other forms of pop music, that makes you angry or aggressive; jazz is unlike that. It is a wonderful healing tool, and illustrates a good sense of appreciating artistic endeavour."