Reply to the jazz call


bdrgabbydoesjazzy Kimberley Cummins

Lovers of authentic jazz have been requesting a jazz festival of their own and the call has been answered.

Over five days, from January 17- 21, patrons†took blankets, chairs, their families and feet to some of the most beautiful and exotic locations across Barbados to witness the polished, sultry and exciting performances of jazz musicians in the inaugural Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY organiser of the event, Tom Hinds, assured these music lovers that the Safari would not be a one-off event, but that they could definitely start preparing themselves for it once again in Barbados in 2014. If their palate was longing for more quality musicianship they could travel to Antigua and St. Vincent in March, and Grenada†in April or to Jamaica, Belize, Suriname and Guyana later this year because the festival will be headed to these locations.

Though some jazz festivals have in the past had “lost their way”, Hinds pledged that this would not be the case with the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari. He said his philosophy was based on the commitment to exposing the jazz genre in its many facets, in furthering education to enhance performances through the medium and that will not change.

“We are a jazz safari and the emphasis is on jazz and that is what our patrons spoke so glowingly about. We are committed to our philosophy but at the same time we understand the likes of the Melanie Fiona will bring people through the turnstiles.

“I am very clear in my mind that at least one act in the entire series will include a Melanie Fiona – somebody who is appreciative of what we are doing and who understands their role. She understood very clearly that she was in a jazz festival, so it is not like we had Melanie Fiona, then we have a John Legend on the next day and then another on the third day,” he said.

“There are too many outstanding musicians in the Caribbean, too many [jazz] musicians outside of the Caribbean in the UK, in Canada to sustain an authentic jazz festival — beyond a shadow of a doubt and I know where they are and I know how to find them.

“These are relationships cultivated over many, many years and it is heart warming that they want to contribute, they want to be a part of it, they want to not only be able to showcase their wares but they genuinely want to be a part of the movement.

“A movement to further the genre — the whole education, exposure, getting young people involved. You only had to see what happened down here with Gabby, Stefan Walcott and the youngster from [Barbados] Community College — the audience was blown away. So it is a movement and we are trying to do everything in our power to attract the corporate Caribbean to buy into the idea.

“It was a fantastic experience. The crowds turned out in their numbers at every single event that we held. We are trying to bring jazz to the fore without compromising the integrity of the music.”

Performers this year included: Autoro Tappin, Elan Trotman, Nicholas Brancker, CiCi, Nnenna Freelon, Melanie Fionna, David Happy Williams, Jane Bunnett and Spirits of Havana, Brazilian Percussionists Gilson Siviera, Mario Canonge Trio, Jeff Lorber and the Malcolm Griffith Quintet.

The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari was born out of Jazz at the Naniki Amphitheatre held in 2011 but jazz at Naniki really has its genesis in Sunday jazz offerings†held at the Naniki Restaurant in Suriname, St. Joseph from 2001.

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