Sunday 6 January 2013

High Notes and a Bright Future: 2012, a Year in TT Jazz¹

In the dwindling days of 2012 when there was a hubbub over the creative industries and the planned state enterprise model for its growth, we had the pending fall-out over the government's counter-strategy of using its favoured soca son to drive the local music industry. These conflicting regimes by separate ministries to make our music global ignored the fact that the industry of music happily went along, dynamic and fluid, all the time improvising to the changes in the nature of attribution (copyright), distribution and now global exploitation. Improvisation is a key element of jazz, and here in TT, that niche of the local music landscape reflects some of the bigger issues that plague and guide that industry.

The demise of the only local terrestrial station dedicated to jazz, WMJX 100.5 FM and its subsequent conversion to an online format a couple years ago would have put the nail in the coffin of a less cherished musical heritage. Jazz and certainly its Caribbean variant, however, continue finding its centre via concerts and a few new CD releases by those dedicated artistes challenging the music genres outside of soca, calypso and parang.