Saturday, 25 June 2016
In 2016, the idea of a calypso jazz band recording reminiscent of those pre-combo dance band records of the late 1950s to the early 1960s comes as a shock to the tendencies of modern local musicians to follow the faddishness of this new generation of music consumers. Trumpeter Rellon Brown along with his young Dominant Seventh CalypsoJazz Band, on their new CD HomeGrown, peel back the pomp and gloss of current tropes to resurrect the idea of creole dance band music. The music, recorded live in the studio, serves as a kind of instigator for moving hips and feet, and as a beacon of native pride in what worked and what did not.
Recently launched at a concert at the Little Carib Theatre, the album's fare runs the gamut of progressive post bop on Trackers to cloying songcraft on a cover of the Ralph MacDonald-written classic Just the Two of Us. The broad mix gives the impression that this debut its trying to be all things to all men. It certainly fulfils the ambition of showcasing local song writing and indigenous musicianship; Ralph MacDonald was the son of early Trinidadian calypsonian Macbeth the Great and identified with his heritage.
Monday, 30 May 2016
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Pathways Zane Rodulfo
- More Caribbean Playlist reviews appear in theMay/June 2016 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
Friday, 25 March 2016
It happened last night. I have known Vaughnette Bigford for a while now as a superb singer in the style of those smoky voiced songstresses from a bygone jazz era reborn in the 21st century. Abbey Lincoln “reborn” as Cassandra Wilson. Nina Simone, however, is the template I see when I see Vaughnette. Another is Miriam Makeba. Them two born she! VOH'net! Our Vaughnette is the modern creole chanteuse, the New World African queen. Not a diva, but the real thing imbuing a Trinidadian ethos missing from many young interlopers singing jazz here. Vaughnette has been a star for many years. A star who has her own in-demand splendid concerts in the south, Shades of Vaughnette. I have written about her three Shades concerts over the years. (I, II, III) I had hosted her at Jazz Artists on the Greens in 2009 before she made her live debut as a SONGBIRD in that series later that year at Aura Restaurant (now Town on Cipriani Blvd.). I recognise her worth. I know that when Vaughnette sings, an audience expectation of a fulfilling experience will be met and exceeded. I know that she will deliver at a level of professionalism that supersedes even stars in other genres.
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Spice Island Eddie Bullen
For One To Love Cécile McLorin Salvant
- More Caribbean Playlist reviews appear in theMarch/April 2016 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
Friday, 1 January 2016
Guilty Pleasure Alexis Baro(G-Three Records)
- More Caribbean Playlist reviews appear in the January/ February 2016 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
Saturday, 5 December 2015
|Raf Robertson, 1952 - 2015. Photo by Maria Nunes. All Rights Reserved.|
It all started with the theme song for a radio programme on 610 Radio in the late 1990s. A mid-day current affairs talk show with a female hostess and call-in section. I can't remember the name, but it always piqued my interest, not solely because of the topics, but because of that damn theme song. It sounded local, but it sounded "foreign." Just an instrumental snippet about 30 seconds long that celebrated, what I later came to find out was the genius of Kitchener. The song snippet was from "Branches," the title track of Raf's second album recorded in Toronto by Eddie Bullen. That sound. That was a modern sound that signalled that we were on the right track to globalising our music; a catch-phrase still in use by government state enterprises looking to diversify the economy, which really means "to sound foreign enough to satisfy non-native ears," I am told. That album came out in 1994. Recorded with ex-pat Caribbean folks. We have come full circle.