Tue | Jun 15, 2021

Jamaica Jazz and Blues Night 2: Organisers pleased with festival's variety

Published:Saturday | March 6, 2021 | 4:56 AMShereita Grizzle/Staff Reporter -
Lila Iké delivered hit after hit.
Lila Iké delivered hit after hit.
Jah9 performed all the way from Tanzania, Africa.
Jah9 performed all the way from Tanzania, Africa.
For many of the performers, including Mortimer, this was their Jamaica Jazz and Blues debut.
For many of the performers, including Mortimer, this was their Jamaica Jazz and Blues debut.

As the curtains closed on night two of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival, praises are being heaped on the show's organisers for what virtual viewer have dubbed as one of the best online products to come out of Jamaica during the pandemic.

On a night that saw stellar headline performances from Jah9, Lila Iké and Mortimer, the show had no interruptions and flowed smoothly from the pre-recorded sets to hosts Tami Chin and Wayne Marshall. Organisers promised to bring back the magic, and it's safe to say that promise was kept as the entire showcase had the online space completely mesmerised and longing for the days when the show will once again be executed in a physical setting.

In an interview with The Gleaner following the conclusion of night two, co-organiser of the event, Marcia McDonnough, said it took a lot to bring the show to television screens across the globe, but said the overwhelmingly positive feedback has left her and the team feeling fulfilled. "It's been a long journey in trying to get it done, and every now and then you think about giving up, and you wonder if it'll be worth it in the end, but based on the feedback, let me tell you, every sleepless night was worth it," said McDonnough.

What McDonnough also appreciates about this year is the variety. "We feel pretty good about how we have been executing. All the performances so far have been excellent and what we especially liked about the show this year is that there is a variety in the music. There is something in the show for everyone, and I think people are appreciating that," she said.

The co-organiser said although the show was returning in a virtual space, the team wanted to remind the world that the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival was so much more than a concert. It was with that in mind that the team conjured the Stay With Us and Circle Jamaica features, which saw Tami Chin, Wayne Marshall and Richie Stephens journeying to different locations across the country. "We believed it would be a success, and we are so happy people have embraced it. I think when we put the show together, we wanted to include all elements of the festival. We wanted to showcase Jamaica, different parts of the island that make the culture so rich because Jazz and Blues isn't just about the music," she said. "Jazz and Blues is not just a concert, it's so much more, and we wanted people to watch the show and really see the festival for all that it was and still is."

Pointing out that a big part of her has been missing since Jazz and Blues took a break in 2015, McDonnough said she is happy that the team could have heralded the show's grand return and says she is looking forward to closing night as they fulfil their dream of 'bringing back the magic'. "From the day Jazz stopped, I have been distressed. I enjoyed every minute working on it, and I enjoyed watching it, and when we didn't have it any more, it was like a part of me was gone. Today, I am just happy we were able to pull it off and bring it back," she said. "What COVID did was give us an opportunity to do the virtual, and with this one going so successfully, we have set ourselves on a platform now to move forward. I am really happy about that and looking forward to what will come tomorrow night when we close out the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival for 2021."

Other performers on night two of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival included Bunny Rose, Earth and the Fullness, Moon, Becky Glacier and Eye of the Brainstorm.