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Jazzing from small stage to big stage

Published:Monday | January 21, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Krysta Anderson, Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, an annual showcase of raw talent, embraces performances and patrons from different walks of life. The festival too has helped several artistes develop and hone their skills, starting from the Art of Jazz small stage graduating to the big stage, performing alongside headline acts. Flair features a few of these artists who stand out.

Tessanne Chin

Known for fusing rock, reggae and soul into her musical package, Tessanne Chin was introduced on the small stage of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in 2006. Six years later, she made a grand appearance on the big stage.

The multi-talented singer, musician and songwriter began her music training from age six at the Little People and Teen Players Club. Chin's parents, who were members of Carnations Band introduced her and her sister, Tami Chynn, to music, and both developed a love affair for this art form.

Tessanne Chin's career began when she became a lead singer of the reggae-rock band Mile High. She also toured with Jimmy Cliff for many years as his back-up singer and opened onstage for several musical icons, including Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Peabo Bryson and Boyz II Men, just to name a few. She has also done a musical collaboration with recording artiste Shaggy.

Tarrus Riley

After performing on jazz's small stage for a while, Tarrus Riley re-emerged on the big stage in 2011.

An outstanding reggae singer and songwriter, his last name is not strange to the Jamaican music industry, following in the footsteps of his father, veteran reggae entertainer Jimmy Riley. He took advantage of his musical background and honed his craft. His music explores the roots of reggae with a soulful flair. He has performed all over the world, namely the Caribbean, North America, the United States and Europe, and has done collaborations with Shaggy and Konshens. His accolades include Best Singer, Male Vocalist, Cultural Artiste, Song of the Year and Best Song. His debut album was released in 2004. Riley recorded four albums over a six-year span, the last being his fourth in 2011.

Aisha Davis

Her musical career took flight at Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival where electrified both small and large stages with her performance.

A performer, entertainer and singer Aisha Davis started her musical journey at the Little People and Teen Players Club. She became a founding member of Ashe Ensemble before joining L'Acadco Dance Company. After making her name as a professional dancer, she returned to her other love, singing. Her professional singing career began in 2001 when she toured with Kimani Marley. She later toured with Shaggy, Coco Tea and Albonosie and collaborated with Konshens, D'Angel, Anthony B and Aidonia.

Rootz Underground

The groups career was actually launched on the small stage of The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival several years ago and they are scheduled to perform on the big stage of the 17th annual Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival later this week.

The musical band, which has been together for 10 years, is one of the leading international reggae and music group in Jamaica. They have toured in North America and Europe with popular Jamaican reggae artistes such as Gregory Isaacs, Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley, just to name a few, and have been compared to having similar sounds of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Third World, maintaining their underground music audience.

The Blue Grass in the Sky

This Reggae band gave critically acclaimed performances at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festivals in 2009 and 2010. At last year's festival, the band opened the main stage on the main night where Maroon 5 was the headline act.

Blue Grass in the Sky started as a family band and developed their name from a song with the lines "I hear there is blue grass in the sky, take off your shoes let's take a walk." After developing a few songs, the band joined the growing live-music scene in Jamaica, playing at spots like Red Bones Blues Café, Weekenz, Village Blues Café, Jamnesia in Bull Bay, St Thomas, as well asvarious venues on the Negril strip.