Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Internationally acclaimed jazz/soul vocalist, Nicole Henry, will perform at a charity fundraiser to aid the School for Therapy, Education and Parenting (STEP), for children with multiple disabilities.
Henry, who has been dubbed 'pop-soul superwoman' by the New York Times, graces the stage at the recently refurbished Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Friday.
The vocalist, whose captivating performances have won her fans worldwide and whose magical sound has earned her three top-10 albums, was last in Jamaica performing at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, where she opened for Celine Dion.
Proceeds from Henry's performance will help to raise funds to construct a playground and purchase equipment for the school, which was built by the Digicel Foundation.
The accomplished vocalist shares the spotlight with Jamaican sensation, violinist, Nadjé Leslie.
"The STEP Centre is a resource centre for differently abled students and their families. It is currently one of the few facilities in Jamaica that offers physical, speech and language therapy as part of its daily curriculum," said Peta-Rose Hall, one of the fund-raising organisers.
Hall said, with a support team of special education teachers, physical, speech and language therapists, the centre is dedicated to ensuring children with multiple disabilities can benefit from an individualised education programme.
Hall describes the concert, which has been tagged, 'Nicole Henry Sings for the STEP Centre,' as the start of great things for the special-needs school. "There is a group working on a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for STEP next year in Montego Bay," she revealed.
Those who support the cause should come expecting a beguiling voice which transcends genres from an artiste who has received numerous accolades in the worlds of jazz and popular music.
Henry's 2004 debut CD release, The Nearness of You, won considerable attention from audiences and critics in the United States and Japan. In Japan, she was named Best New Jazz Artist of 2004.
In 2005, Henry's Teach Me Tonight reached No. 1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan's Best Vocal Jazz Album. Her album, titled The Very Thought of You, substantially expanded her American audience, reaching No. 7 on Billboard's jazz chart.
Henry's 2011 release, Embraceable, was a slight departure from her prior recordings, and reached the top 20 on jazz and smooth jazz radio charts. Embraceable was a creative triumph for Henry, that established her as a peerless interpreter of both jazz and pop standards.
Henry's January 2013 release, So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live, showcases her soulful, inspired interpretations of some of her favourite classic hits of the '70s.