Wednesday 1 March 2023

After COVID, a return to island jazz

This article appears in the March/April 2023 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine as “A return to Island jazz.”

The COVID-19 pandemic over the last three years wreaked havoc on island tourism and decimated the live music industry worldwide. A nexus for live music and tourism in the islands is the enduring island jazz festival, set for a reintroduction, a rebound and a reset in 2023. 

In the Spring 1993 issue of Caribbean Beat, writer BC Pires noted that there are “more than 30 jazz festivalse very year in the Caribbean and most Caribbean people have never been to one … And there is a good reason for this: most people in the Caribbean don’t really need jazz — they’ve got perfectly good music of their own, thank you.”

However, 30 years beyond Pires’ declaration, perpetual in-the-red economics, ageing demographics, and changing tastes have diminished the faddish-ness of the island jazz fest as a dreamed-of getaway — whittling down the “more than 30 jazz festivals” to fewer than a dozen.