Monday 16 January 2023

Island Jazz Chat: Episode 17 - Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Jacques Schwarz-Bart, from Guadeloupe, can be considered a Caribbean jazz explorer who is mining musical histories and creating new experiences based on tradition, heritage, spirituality, and a full understanding of the Caribbean legacy of being at the centre of many cultural moments in the Americas. His dual Afro-Caribbean and Jewish heritage has allowed him to make bold musical statements, both live and on record, that re-chart the ruins, and to place in the wider public consciousness the music of Haitian Vodou, Guadeloupean gwo ka rhythms, Hebrew liturgical chants, and other creole spiritual conversations all resonating with a jazz vocabulary. From neo-soul and jazz to introspective takes on the spectrum of African diasporic music and retentions, Schwarz-Bart continues to expand the Caribbean Jazz footprint globally with tours, recordings and teaching. Tue, 10 Jan 2023
  • Programme Date: 10 January 2023
  • Programme Length: 01:31:32

Monday 9 January 2023

Island Jazz Chat: Episode 16 - Leon 'Foster' Thomas

Leon 'Foster' Thomas, contemporary steelpan jazz musician and composer from Trinidad, and at present, Caribbean Jazz researcher now based in the UK, chats on his career and the continuing journey to move the steelpan to the front of the jazz bandstand with his recordings and performances. His compositions, what he calls his "book of stories", position the instrument as a transcriber of emotions that allows for a dynamic range of sensitive touch and dexterity. His new album, Calasanitus due in March 2023, explores a range of topics that get to the heart of what Thomas sees as lives lived and the fates of people moving among the Americas. Mon, 9 Jan 2023
  • Programme Date: 09 January 2023
  • Programme Length: 01:35:39

Sunday 1 January 2023

Playlist (January/February 2023) | Music BuzzÂȘ

Calasanitus  Leon Foster Thomas

(Krossover Jazz)

The steelpan, as an instrument to translate emotion into sound, does not get the high-profile notice that, say, a violin or piano gets. With a history of not yet 100 years, that may be inevitable — but in the hands of a master, one can hear the expressive potential of the instrument. Thomas’ rapid-fire dexterity takes a back seat to his improvisational elan on this, his fourth album, to let his compositions breathe and his guest soloists fly. The album is a tribute to his late mother and her imparted life lessons, and its songs follow a range of ideas and moods — from heartache to joy, contemplation to memory. Steelpan, piano, saxophone and trumpet dramatically converse with each other to tell stories: a parent’s sacrifice, an immigrant’s dream, the migrant’s challenges, a happy evocation of childhood, a meditation on the end of Caribbean life, and more. This mature reflection — both good and sad, all well played — makes this album a keeper.

  1. This review appears in the January/February 2023 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
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