Monday 31 July 2023

Freedom Jazz Jam, a review²

An edited version of this review first appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday as “Vaughnette Bigford jazzes up the Bowl” on 30 July 2023.

As the unending post-Carnival 2023 jazz season overlaps with the 2024 Carnival band launch season, the Naparima Bowl became an all-encompassing sold-out space for live music magic and fashion statement making. Vaughnette Bigford, the Creole Chanteuse, on Saturday, July 22 continued her evolution from “jazz singer” to producer of live music experiences that go beyond the stage to touch and encourage audiences to show their true colours. Freedom Jazz Jam was described by her as a “celebration of us,” and on the weekend before the Emancipation Day festivities the Jam manifested in a real creative industry mix of music and fashion, pride and pulchritude. 

An hour before the showtime was a pre-concert reception in the Bowl’s courtyard that showcased more than fan appreciation for this southern songbird, but a manifestation of local fashion design and couture celebration, and a display of individual attachment to heritage in all the colours under an African sun. Local designer names were spoken: Prindela Fashions, Kimo, Diane Carlton Caribbean, Rack.PDH plus, Nadroj, and others that put into perspective that real commercial synergy of sectors in the creative industries at this event. 

Saturday 1 July 2023

Music buzz | Reviews (Jul/Aug 2023)ª

Caribbean Beat Jul/Aug 2023

47 On Strand  Élan Parlē


The album title references an address in Cape Town, South Africa, and a point of reflection and unique perspective for a Trinidadian wanderer there. In this instance, that explorer is the architect of 21st century kaisojazz (calypso jazz): Michael Low Chew Tung, élan parlē, himself. From his vantage point, literally in a hotel across the street, he mined the influences gained from seeing, hearing, and being there. The energy of the street, the vista of Table Mountain in the distance, the percussion and sounds of a distant Africa move his compositions towards a new centre for musical innovation. Continuing the exercise of expanding the vocabulary of kaisojazz — begun in his 2013 album, I Am Élan Parlē — the music here occupies a contemporary jazz profile. Tunes like “Load Shedding” and the title track don’t burden the listener with complex solos, but marry the sonic aesthetic of island elegance with a modern African presence for expanded possibilities.

  1. This review appears in the July/August 2023 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
© 2023, Nigel A. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.