THE JAZZ LANGUAGE: Elmore has the attention of Headline's Khorieann Robb (right) and sponsorship liaison Nytali McFarlane.
“Sweet 16 on the golden anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.” That’s exactly how the upcoming iteration of the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival has been branded, a melding of two monumental milestones. The new-look Art of Music Productions (AMP), led by the ever-reliable Walter Elmore, is the team behind the upcoming staging of the three-night affair.
The spacious Wyndham ballroom in New Kingston on Tuesday served as the perfect hosting spot for the local launch of the Fest, slated for Jan. 26-28, 2012 at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium. In the gorgeously adorned space, complete with slender drink stands, super-sized TV screens, plush-white couches and sponsorship banners, attendees mingled and jived to live music from a pair of live bands over cocktails and nibbles.
Fresh-faced compere Regina Beavers, admirably spreading her wings these days, proved satisfactorily delightful behind the mic, moderating the flow at a nice pace. Things got off to a super-late start (over an hour behind the announced 7:00 pm), but if people were at all put off by the organizers’ tardiness, they didn’t show it. The chattering crowd swelled as the evening hit its stride, culminating in a series of performances, presentations and announcements.
> Joining the 2012 party: Funk-soul brother Cee-Lo Green, dancehall megastar and 2012 Grammy nominee Shaggy, as well as a revised Temptations, have all been confirmed as the latest additions to the performance lineup, joining a starry field that includes headliners Celine Dion and Kelly Rowland. Word is more surprise additions are to be announced in the coming weeks.
> Performers at Tuesday’s launch: Richie Stephens, Cameal Davis and the In2Nation band.
> Famous faces in the crowd: King Yellowman, Karen Harriott, Sydney Bartley, Chris Martin, Keith Brown, Rosie Murray, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and Hon. Edmund Bartlett, among others.
>> 'BABSY' GRANGE: Why Celine Dion takes the cake