Arturo Tappin and Jazz Artists on the Greens

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Peter Ray Blood writes about how exhilarating and special last week’s Jazz Artists on the Greens (JAOTG) was, in particular the performance by Arturo Tappin. Calling this year’s concert an extremely entertaining and enjoyable experience—a concert that has consistently been called one of the best “authentic jazz” productions in the land— Blood reminds us that the 14th edition of Jazz Artistes on the Greens will take place around March 12, 2016. As usual, the event takes place at The Greens at Farm Road St Joseph in Trinidad and Tobago. Here are excerpts of his review:

Comments overheard throughout the evening gave testimony to the high quality of performances, especially that of Arturo Tappin’s aggregation. A female patron summed up Tappin’s performance succinctly when she said: “Arturo Tappin is the Machel Montano of Caribbean jazz.”

Despite the inclement weather at the show’s start, a heated repertoire by the Princes Town Musical Ensemble warmly opened proceedings. This relatively unknown act kept many patrons rooted under umbrellas to their seats as its young musicians, drawn from the H Maharaj School of Music, competently performed a variety of musical genres.

[. . .] They were followed by Clifford Charles’s group. With Charles on guitar, the group comprised Allan Nelson (trumpet); Malcolm Boyce (saxophone); Stephen Villafana (trombone); Ron Clarke (keyboards); Sean Friday (bass); Jerome Charles (drums); and Jason “Fridge” Seecharan and Anastasia Richardson (vocals).

Charles’s ensemble played some lively music, including its original Strollin, Seecharan’s wonderful treatment of Let’s Stay Together and What You Won’t Do For Love, guitar instrumentals of Love Never Felt So Good, Happiest Man Alive, Epic, Call My name and Dance With You. During a merge of the latter two, Clifford invited female patrons on stage to sing the songs’ refrains.

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra was up next, fielding Cody Wright on bass, drummer Chaisaray Schenick and Scales on double seconds. Theirs was an eclectic set with each musician copulating with the other in some unique musical shapes and shades. [. . .]

I thought that Production One should not have slotted Tappin to perform before final act Kay Alleyne as his music and performance was the night’s most dynamic and infectious. For his performance, Tappin brought his Barbadian music compatriots Andre Daniel (keyboards); Jermone Waithe (guitar); Kirk Layne (bass); Melvin Alick (drums); Kweku Jelani (trumpet); and Matthew Squires (trombone) to play with him and did they work up a storm.

Jelani and Squires, just 20 and 21, respectively, played with the competence of much older and experienced musicians. They had been mentored by Tappin for the past two years. Also efficient was 21-year-old Waithe, who was doing his first gig outside of Barbados.

Tappin can be defined as “the mother lode” of Caribbean jazz. He and his band played a plethora of popular music, mixing Be Bop with pop, with R&B, with reggae, with straight ahead jazz, and with soca. Opening with Earth Wind & Fire’s In the Stone they gradually increased the intensity of their set with covers of Jay Z, Rihanna, Usher, Maroon 5, Eddie Harris, Stylistics, Bruno Mars, John Legend and Michael Jackson. With patrons, mostly women literally jammed against the stage dancing with gay abandon, Arturo unleashed a sizzling soca set of covers from Fadda Fox, Lead Pipe & Saddis, Olatunji, Benjai and Machel Montano. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2015-03-27/tappin-steals-jazz-show

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