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Jazz in the Gardens, Hot music on a cool evening

Published:Saturday | March 6, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Michael Reckord, Gleaner Writer

Sunday's Jazz in the Gardens concert at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel was especially memorable for several people who were called from the audience by emcee Michael Anthony Cuffe.

Among them was a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. Cuffe insisted they show their love with a kiss.

Eight or nine of the others had birthdays in January or February. They shared slices of a special birthday cake, compliments of the hotel.

Manager Nancy McLean, executive producer of the Jazz in the Gardens concerts, mounted every other month, and one of the birthday celebrants, got an extra treat. Tarrus Riley serenaded her with a modified version of his popular song
She's Royal
. One line of the chorus became "
She's a queen, Ms McLean

While all this warm love was being shown, a strong, chilly breeze was blowing in from the sea and a large golden moon hung high in a cloudless sky.

All this took place during the break between the two main segments of the concert, and the audience, nearly 400 jazz lovers, had just indulged themselves with the hotel's tasty hors d'oeuvres - fish, chicken, fruit, cheese, fried bammy, callaloo quiche and popcorn. Liquid refreshments included brandy, fruit drinks and coffee.

Yet another person for whom the occasion will be memorable is singer Diana Rutherford. It marked her debut performance in the popular concert series and she delivered a most impressive set. Dressed in a slim and attractive black pants and green and black knitted blouse, she sang four songs -
Still a Lady
You Better Stop
- with her strong, pleasant voice and excellent diction. Her diction, it seemed, derived from the fact that she is a French teacher.

In keeping with the theme of the concert, Organ and Vocals in Harmony, the band took over from Rutherford, with master organist Robbie Lyn featuring in the tunes played. Other band members were Glen Browne (bass), Everol Wray (trumpet and trombone), Desi Jones (drums), Ozoune (keyboard), Dean Fraser (saxophone) and Dalton Browne (guitar).

Jazz lovers would recognise those names as top artistes and the music they played showed them to be in great form. Many members of the audience continually danced in their seats or on their feet, and it would be a cynical onlooker who would conclude the movement was due to the icy wind and not the hot music.

The tunes included
Today More than Yesterday, My Cheri Amor, Back to the Chicken Shack
Autumn Sounds
. After about half-an-hour of playing, the band stopped for the intermission and all its aforementioned activities.


Then came the main vocalist for the evening, actress and singer Keisha Patterson, making, according to the emcee, her third appearance in the 'Garden' series. Cuffe also mentioned that the singer has been touring a lot with the likes of Jamaican superstars Sly and Robbie.

Patterson's experience showed. Totally at ease onstage, she charmed her listeners with her amiable personality, her strong, clear voice and beautiful tone. Her repertoire of standards included
Night and Day
Lullaby of Birdland
The More I See you
Girl From Ipanema
God Bless the Child
At Last

One song,
Day in and Day Out
, she dedicated to McLean for her birthday and she invited Lyn to help the band to back her for
Our Day Will Come
. At the end of her set, patrons rushed to buy her CD which was on sale near the bar.

The thoroughly delightful evening of jazz ended at 9:15 with Cuffe reminding patrons that the next Jazz in the Gardens concert would be on April 25.