Disclaimer: Due to logistics issues and new parent obligations of some members of the crew, we were not able to catch all of the performances. Sorry, folk.
To call Jazz Artists On The Greens (acronym: JAOTG) a concert would mischaracterize the show. I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it a music festival either, even though the tagline, “come for the lime; discover the music,” would lead you to think that. JAOTG somehow manages to straddle that fine line and end up being both, while not suffering from an identity crisis. The first things that you see on entering the grounds, are white chairs leading up to the stage, surrounded by vending tents. While this layout gives the sense of a more traditional type show, the picnic baskets and small coolers which dot the outer edge of the area give the show a much more laid back feel. That Production One markets the show as a type of mini-music festival, and encourages patrons to bring their own drinks and chairs, adds to feeling that you’re really just attending a lime, and they are more than happy enough to just provide the background music. And speaking of the music…
Rolf Doyle, the de facto PRO of Production One, sat with us before hand and elaborated on the challenges involved in finding talent for a jazz show in Trinidad, and the need to often identify and tap into new and upcoming talent for JAOTG. The new talent that we were able to experience held their own admirably against the more established artists, and did not sound out of place or intimidated in the slightest. Clifford Charles and his band took the stage, and accompanied the next two vocalists. Jason “Fridge” Seecharan (of H20 Phlo fame) took the crowd back with covers of several golden oldies, ranging from Lionel Richie to Teddy Pendergrass. The hidden gem of the night may have been Moricia Cagan though. A relative newcomer, she impressed with a wide-ranging repertoire that moved effortlessly from funk, to Angela Hunte, to Fay Ann Lyons, to Cee-Lo Green. The Dean Williams Quartet performed original pieces that slowed the pace somewhat and gave the atmosphere a more laid back mood. Alexis Baro also played original compositions from off his new album, “Guilty Pleasure”, a blend of Afro-Cuban, Caribbean Jazz that alternated between being slow and sensual, and up-tempo and almost poppy. This was the part of the proceedings where JAOTG truly flexed its jazz muscles. The music from the instrumental ensembles were not as frenetic, or familiar, as those from the vocalists. As such, there weren’t many sing-a-longs, but the spell that the melodies cast over the crowd was no less captivating. The sad part is that we missed out on hearing Vizion Musiq featuring Arita Edmund, and Dane Gulston.
There was a well-stocked Angostura bar present, along with the usual staples of burgers, wings and fries, shark and fries, and bake and shark. Sinpo tried it and rated it a solid “meh”, though he admitted this was more down to their playing it safe with the condiments, and any serious short comings. The presence of Poutinôis on the premises was a real surprise. A local outfit, they have been in existence for a couple of months and have been trying to introduce poutine to the local market. As an unabashed poutine-lover, I have been touting its merits for years now to strange looks and gagging noises. That being said, I convinced Sinpo to try it. His response, verbatim, was: “never had Poutine but I’ve heard of it. Pretty good. I’d definitely have it again.” One person successfully converted.
It’s rare that you attend an event that has no ostensible flaws. Even the most well organised show has some issue that it must deal with or overcome. And while we did hear that JAOTG did have some issues with the final performance (we heard that Dane Gulston may have had a minor problem with his mic), the show was basically flawless for the time that we were there. The show reportedly started on time, and band changes were smooth and snappy. Our one regret is that, due to logistical issues and new parent obligations, we couldn’t experience the entire show. Based on the what we saw though, this is definitely not an event to miss next year.
Thanks to Rolf Doyle and the Production One team for accommodating us and granting us access to the artists.