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Jazz opening night welcomes ladies on keyboards

Published:Thursday | June 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dr Kathy Brown - File
Dr Carol Ball-Thompson - File

"I can hardly believe that this is happening, but here goes," said an ecstatic Dr Carol Ball-Thompson. "This new and adventurous foray into the world of jazz will add to my list of exciting experiences."

Ball-Thompson is a well-known classical pianist and violinist, who will be one of the dynamic musicians to take centre stage during the 'Ladies on Keys' segment on the opening night of the Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival.

The much-anticipated event on the annual entertainment calendar will take place at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston this Saturday, with cocktails at 7 p.m.

Ball-Thompson is no stranger to the concert stage, having been the conductor of the famed University Singers while at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she led a number of successful tours to the Caribbean and the United States.

Others in the spotlight

Also taking the spotlight during this keyboard segment will be Dr Kathy Brown, a popular figure on the jazz scene; young and aspiring jazz musician Kamla Hamilton, and musician, author and publisher Joy Simons-Brown.

Simons-Brown, who learned her jazz piano techniques from ace musician and tutor Maurice Gordon, also honed her musical skills at the Royal School of Music in London, where she also learned to play the clarinet. Her skills on the organ were acquired while attending the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

Kamla received most of her formal training in classical music from Edna Manley College's School of Music, and says her greatest influence in music is Monty Alexander, whom she admires for never losing his Jamaican roots in all his musical explorations.

Brown is known for captivating her audiences with energetic performances, which she will no doubt bring to the opening night of the festival.

The weeklong jazz series, which forms part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations, will touch on various genres of music,
such as mento, pop, ska and samba.

Other features of
the festival include a jazz brunch on Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel
Jazz Village, following opening night; free jazz jams throughout the
week both at the Four Seasons and the Sunset Resort Jamaica Grande, the
Ocho Rios Jazz Village for the Festival; a free public concert in the
Ocean Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios on Wednesday at 4 p.m. A jazz
music workshop for teachers and students will also take place at The
Louise Bennett Garden Theatre on Hope Road on Friday, June 15 between 9
a.m. and noon.

Popular venues

Saturday, June 16 two popular venues, Glenn's Jazz Club in Ocho Rios and
the Two Seasons Guest House in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, will be
hosting events simultaneously.

The curtain comes down
on the festival with the Closing Father's Day Concert at the salubrious
Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios on Sunday, June 17 from noon to 6 p.m.
Features of this event will include songbird Mari Isaacs and Harold
Davis on keyboard; 'Drumology' with drummers extraordinaire Ouida Lewis,
Calvin Mitchell, Supersad and Ewan Simpson. The 'Battle of the Horns'
will feature Mickey Hanson, Romeo Grey, Vivian Scott, Ian Hird, Harold
Tingling and Everard Gayle.

Another highlight of the
closing concert is "Guitar Conversation', showcasing the expertise of
Rupert Bent. Repeat performances by the Brazilian Band, Ba-Boom and the
Desi Jones Group will be in the mix.

The festival is
made possible through the kind sponsorship of the Jamaica Tourist Board,
Grace Foods Limited, Labels and Supplies Centre Limited, The Gleaner
Company Ltd, KOOL FM, Sunset Resorts, Hotel Four Seasons and CVM

Tickets and further information on the festival
are available at the Jazz Centre, 22 East Kings House Road, telephone
927-3544, and Music Mart, Twin Gates