Jazz Under the Stars spectacular
On Saturday night, the historic Devon House provided the perfect backdrop for what turned out to be a spectacular evening of quality entertainment. The sweet sounds of jazz reigned supreme at Jazz Under the Stars, as a star-studded line-up served up some timeless classics to a full lawn.
The event got under way promptly at 8 p.m. and delivered on its promise of powerhouse performances. Each entertainer, from start to finish, executed their sets with such prestige and brilliance that almost every act had to return to the stage for encores. The night’s main act, South African Lorraine Klassen, was one of the evening’s standout performers. Having only arrived in the island the night before the show and only managing one rehearsal, Klassen showed her class and made her mark as she and the experienced Fab 5 delivered a phenomenal half-hour set. As one of the very few South African entertainers still doing township music, the singer took the audience on a trip to the country of her birth. The sounds of Africa filled the air as she gave a beautiful rendition of Miriam Makeba’s Click Song. But she didn’t just sing the song. As the consummate entertainer she has become, Klassen shared the story behind the song and danced her way into the hearts of the guests, who at this point were fully captivated by the Soweto songstress.
Describing her return to Jamaica as a homecoming, Klassen expressed gratitude to Jamaicans for always showing hospitality to her and her late mother, Thandie Klassen. Then, reminiscing on her childhood, Klassen proceeded to share one of the songs her mother used to sing to her. As she got into the slow, soothing sounds of Ella Fitzgerald’s Summertime, the audience let out screams of satisfaction. Her rendition of the popular classic was well received. Klassen closed her set with another Miriam Makeba song, Pata Pata. The song which translates to Touch Touch in English, had some audience members out of their chairs, dancing as they imitated the moves Klassen executed on stage.
While Klassen was the advertised main act, the Jamaicans held their own and served up strong performances. The ‘evergreen’ Myrna Hague, PA-KA-GE (trio of Patricia Edwards, Karen Smith and Gem Myers), Jay Douglas and the band Fab 5 all gave stellar performances. Proving that, like fine wine, she only gets better with time, Hague tantalised the ears of the patrons with her unique sound. Delivering a powerful set which got emotional at one point as she sang, A House is not a Hom e, Hague proved why she is one of the best voices on the local jazz circuit.
The trio of PA-KA-GE also impressed. Individually, the ladies were spectacular, but together they were a force to be reckoned with on the night. Hague and PA-KA-GE were so impressive that the audience would call on them to return to the stage for encore presentations. Each obliged and served up some much-appreciated ‘brawta’ songs.
All proceeds from the concert will go towards restoration efforts at Devon House.