Sun | Jan 20, 2019

YolanDa Brown to honour Sonny Bradshaw

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Saxophonist plays in Ocho Rios June 16

Saxophonist YolanDa Brown first met the late Cecil 'Sonny' Bradshaw in 2006 in London. Her father Ivan read about the bandleader in a London newspaper and, wanting his musical daughter to meet this Jamaican legend, sought him out.

Bradshaw, always delighted to meet and converse with young musicians, extended an invitation to the young woman to meet him at home and the two spent an entire afternoon talking music.

He invited her to the 2007 renewal of the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, which she accepted, where she had the opportunity to play with the cream of the Jamaican music community - Dean Fraser, Desi Jones and Sonny B himself, as well as the late Byard Lancaster, who was also visiting that year. It was the last time that Byard would visit Jamaica.

That experience proved to be an artistic breakthrough for Brown, who began to define her style from a more Caribbean cultural perspective and, in so doing, has carved out a place for herself in British jazz. Since that visit to Jamaica, YolanDa Brown has won the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Best Jazz Artist award (2008 and 2009), the Urban Music Award (2009) and received an honorary doctorate from the University of East London (2009).

In addition, her 2010 debut album, April Showers May Flowers, topped the jazz charts.

Brown embarks on her first North American tour in June, with Jamaica on her itinerary. Her return to the Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival is a pilgrimage to the home of her parents and an honour to the memory of the man who first introduced her to Jamaica, Bradshaw, the founder of the Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival.

Brown can be seen on Father's Day, June 16, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. at Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios, St Ann.

- Myrna Hague Bradshaw

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