This year, the Jazz Alliance of Trinidad & Tobago (JATT) debuts the first annual Trinidad & Tobago Jazz Festival, running 12–14 March at various locations across Trinidad.
Festival Director and President of JATT Sean Thomas – whose recent events include Jazzalypso and Jazzang – insists that it will also have a unique selling point: “we are creating a truly indigenous T&T Jazz Festival and will be featuring Ravi B and Rikkii Jai and jazzing up the Chutney. We will also be doing that to the year’s winning Road March and Soca Monarch [“Palance”]. This will be a jazz festival with a difference!”
Here’s what audiences can expect:
Friday 12 March:
- Launch (3–5pm, Brian Lara Promenade, free): poetry, flamenco and tap jazz fusion, featuring poet Muhammad Muwakil; dancers Candace Ellis and Nalini Akal; and musicians Larry Lee Luck, Modupe Onilu, Russell Durity, Wayne Guerra and Sean Thomas
- Jazz @ Spalkers (9–11:30pm, Spalkers Restaurant & Sports Bar, free): featuring Wayne Guerra; Russell Durity; Jeffrey Pataysingh; Mikhail Salcedo; Marissa Gomez; and Sean Thomas
Saturday 13 March:
- Master Class with Grace Kelly (11am–1:30pm, Centre for Creative & Festival Arts, UWI, free to musicians)
- Headline Event (5–10pm, “The Greens”, Centre for Creative & Festival Arts, UWI; Tickets $200): hosted by Paul Keens-Douglas and featuring Moods Steel Orchestra; Ravi B; Rikki Jai; University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) Faculty Jazztet (led by Dave Marcellin); Gene Lawrence & Friends (including Ray Holman and Kernal Roberts); and the Grace Kelly Quartet from the USA, with Sean Thomas
- After Party (12:30am, the Corner Bar): free jam session with local and foreign musicians
Sunday 14 March
- Film Screening (8:30pm, The Corner Bar, free): Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz
The main concert event will also feature what JATT describes as “seven pillars”, including: the history makers (this year’s is “A Great Day in Gustine”, paying tribute to some of the foundations of Caribbean jazz); virtuosos (featuring Korean-American saxophonist Grace Kelly, and Gene Laurence); Latin jazz; Jazz in de Palance (where musicians will be riffing off of this year’s Road March and Soca Monarch hit, “Palance”, among other local soca hits); and Jazzing Up De Pop (where well-known pop songs will be given a Caribbean jazz treatment by Sean Thomas and his band).
Proceeds from the festival will go towards the Jazz Alliance’s Music Scholarship Fund. Tickets for the main event are TT$200 (entrance for children under 12 is free).