The Jazz Festival is one of the major events on the Saint Lucian calendar. Performers and visitors from all over the world journey to our shores to take part in an internationally recognized festival celebrating the sounds and magical atmosphere that are JAZZ.
The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival is now 26 years old. Like the Pitons and Carnival, it is one of the items that puts Saint Lucia on the map, drawing in visitors from the region and further afield – TT gives a shout out to the London Elite posse: Welcome back guys!
EVOLUTION OF THE JAZZ FESTIVAL
In its lifetime the Jazz Festival has hit some high notes and some flat ones. It has its origin in the October Jazz Festival established in 1991 by Saint Lucians including Luther Francois, one of the performers at this year’s Jazz Festival. (Catch him on Thursday 10th May at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort.)
For many years festival patrons were treated to the delights of jazz giants such as Al Jarreau and George Benson. Over the years the pure jazz aspect softened and was almost lost. Thankfully, 2017 saw a move back towards the origins, with the reintroduction of a festival dedicated solely to genuine jazz acts. 2018 is a refinement of this process with some seriously cool jazz on offer.
This year’s festival is billed as a celebration of Saint Lucian, Caribbean and international jazz music. The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival 2018 will feature four of the most prolific and creative Saint Lucian jazz musicians, a tribute to their role in creating and promoting Caribbean and Creole Jazz. As well as Luther Francois, there will be performances by master guitarist Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson (read his profile on page 38) and seasoned saxophonist Barbara Cadet who opens the festival on Monday 7th May at Sandals Grande. She will share the stage with award-winning Denys Baptiste who this year has been nominated for the JAZZ FM Awards in two categories: Album of the Year and Live Experience of the Year (for his 2017 concert with Pharaoh Sanders).
JAZZ IN RESORTS
This year’s Saint Lucia Jazz Festival runs from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th May. There is an emphasis on ‘lounge jazz’ with several resorts hosting concerts.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort celebrates ‘A World of Jazz’ with performances by local, regional and international artistes each evening throughout the week Monday 7th to Friday 11th May.
Harbor Club plays host to ‘A Taste of Bourbon Street’’ with Jazzmeia “Jazz” Horn on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May.
Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa welcomes one of the most famous vocalists on the festival programme, Grammy Award-winning Lalah Hathaway. See her perform on Friday 11th May. Royalton will maintain a strong jazz vibe when Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez plays there on Saturday 12th May.
MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL
As in previous years, the concert on Sunday 13th May will take place at Pigeon Island National Landmark and all ages are welcome, especially as this is Mother’s Day. Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson and Friends will be one of the acts entertaining the crowd. Other world-recognised artistes on the stage include American soul singer, songwriter and pianist Avery*Sunshine, plus jazz supergroup R+R=NOW led by legendary pianist Robert Glasper.
For more information visit www.stlucia.org/summerfestival