Friday 1 March 2024

Music Buzz | Reviews (Mar/Apr 2024)ª

Gentle Touch  Reginald Cyntje

(Self released)

On this his seventh album, Reginald Cyntje — pronounced SIN-chee — continues his musical exploration of emotional themes and the intangible through instrumental jazz. With his trombone as lead, this US Virgin Islander explores in a quiet contemplative way the vulnerability of being in love. “Vulnerability is key to authenticity,” he says. “Being vulnerable takes strength, courage, and emotional intelligence. A gentle touch.” That gentle touch is revealed in five tunes on this short EP. They sashay smoothly, and exist within a fine balance of subdued tempo and an earnest reach for moods that showcase languid tropical vibes through bossa nova, reggae, neo-soul, and jazz. Celebration, hope, empathy, the memory of the first time, and growth are the themes highlighted here. Excellent musicianship by his quartet takes centre stage; Allyn Johnson on piano shines. An island perspective on love is always welcomed. Inspiration and reflection are encouraged.

  1. This review appears in the March/April 2024 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
© 2024, Nigel A. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday 17 February 2024

Island Jazz Chat: Episode 19 – Garvin Blake

Garvin Blake, pan jazz musician based in New York has re-discovered his intention to preserve and promote the idea of steelpan and jazz as global music. After a pair of significant albums in 1999, Belle Eau Road Blues, and 2015, Parallel Overtones, Blake is now in a place in his life to continue to record and let the music of the steelpan be the 'new voice' in the conversation that is jazz. Island Jazz Chat catches up with Blake on this annual Carnival return to Trinidad to speak about his career, his work with South African Tony Cedras, Vincentian Frankie McIntosh, and a number of important American musicians on the creation of new music for jazz ensembles with a starring role for the steelpan.
Sat, 17 Feb 2024
  • Programme Date: 17 February 2024
  • Programme Length: 01:15:47

© 2024 Jett Samm Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Etienne Charles: The Road March in Concert – a review²

An edited version of this article appeared in the T&T Newsday as, “Etienne Charles celebrates road march history in concert"

Etienne Charles’s engagement with the Carnival and its music is ongoing — his albums Kaiso (2011) and Carnival: The Sound of a People, Vol. 1 (2017) and the subsequent live performances here, the evolution of Carnival music on the road with his music/masquerade band Riddim, Brass & Mas, his recording kaiso/soca collaborations with Kes, Terri Lyons, David Rudder — and on Thursday, February 1 at Queen’s Hall in Port of Spain, he delved deeper into the magic of this music that moves a society and defines celebration. The Road March in Concert was a review of those songs that are the most popular song on the road, at Carnival competition spaces, in fetes.

The concert began as a historical showcase of the chants, lavways and leggos of Emancipated folk, and almost sequentially moved towards a veneration of popular calypsos and soca tunes, highlighting the personalities who made these Carnival music hits. It was a timeline; what began as a contemplation of music history, ended in celebration and the cheeky marketing of Charles’s 2024 Carnival band, Magnificent. And that was a good thing as it targeted the two aspects of an audience in search of Carnival entertainment outside the sweaty jam of modern fetes. That juxtaposition of contemplation and celebration is at the heart of Carnival and was the ultimate ethos of the event. 

Monday 1 January 2024

Music Buzz | Reviews (Jan/Feb 2024)ª

Of Love & Life  Ava Hutchinson

(Self released)

Ava Hutchinson is a treasure in her native Trinidad and Tobago, carving out a niche as one of the few female jazz pianists leading a band. On this, her debut album, another side of Hutchinson is revealed: she is a talented composer, brave enough to bare her inner self in lyrics that transcribe her life and loves, good and bad. The melodies are noteworthy with a keen sense of style, and are enhanced by a production from innovative producer Roger Israel and a crack cohort of local musicians. That support becomes necessary to move the music towards a point of distinction, allowing the 18 songs here to provide a clearer picture of Hutchinson’s life. We are no longer left to wonder. Musical autobiographies can either be rigid relaying of facts as rhyming couplets, or figurative lines that allow listeners to fill in some blanks. This album captures a life with lyrics that sing, with words that neatly identify remembered relationships and emotional ups and downs. Revealing.

  1. This review appears in the January/February 2024 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
© 2024, Nigel A. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.