Amala's View

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tappin steals the show

Mike Phillips, Arturo Tappin, Garry Davis and Boney James. What do these fine gentlemen have in common? If you said they are all saxophonists you are correct but only half way there! They all graced the stage for the Barbados Jazz Festival 2006.

The Farley Hill National Park saw most of them over the two final days of the festival. Arturo Tappin was a hard act to follow though. With a resume as long as his playing is good, Arturo has graced the stage with the likes of Luther Vandross and Roberta Flack. Emcee Wayne Kool Simmons adequately prepared the audience for what was about to happen, he said we were in for a ninety minute flight, there may be turbulence but it should come from dancing, there was no need for seat belts and we were free to move around the cabin. Arturo Tappin was the flight’s captain. Complete with a band of musicians who are great individual instrumentalists, proving once again that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! When Arturo took the stage the band was already playing and he begun to blow the lead lines. Dressed in a white bohemian chic jacket, jeans and a white hat, he looked every bit the part that he sounded. He moved easily from tenor to alto to baritone and finally soprano sax during his set that covered several genres of music. During some of the selections he featured the talented musicians who graced the stage with him. Miles Robertson did more than tickle the ivories with a solo that had him leaving his stool at times. Elan Trotman, a Tappin student and recording artiste in his own right also shared the stage. Etienne Charles the trumpeter from Trinidad blew his way into the hearts of the fans at Farley Hill, with a look reminiscent of a young Marsalis brother, he is destined for great things. Scott Gault who has always been exceptional with his guitar was not to be outdone. Arturo must know that with experience comes true wisdom and he called on percussionist Ralph MacDonald who composed Mr Magic – a tune made popular by Grover Washington jr.
Traces of Tobago, Tempted to Touch, Ordinary People and the tribute to Luther Vandross still linger in the minds of the patrons. However, there is no doubt that the piece he ended with when he was called for one more will resonate with Barbadians for years. The three horn players did a moving performance of Waistline Shots, the road march for 2005.
Arturo Tappin succeeded in holding the attention of patrons for just over an hour and there was never a dull moment! Well done there Captain.
Suave guitarist Norman Brown brought the curtains down on the Saturday show, he performed selections from his After The Storm and Just Chillin’ albums among others. Although at times he seemed pressed for time, he was able to fit in some impressions as he paid tribute to those who are responsible for him being where he is today. He impersonated the styles of Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery and George Benson much to the delight of the audience.
Sunday saw more saxophone renditions that kept the audience enthralled. Garry Davis and his band opened the day and set a pace that was nice and easy. His wife Regina lent her smooth vocals to some of the tracks.
The Cuban All Stars brought a fabulous touch of salsa to the proceedings that had the patrons close to the stage putting on a side show.
Native New Yorker Boney James closed the proceedings in fine style performing numbers from his Ride and Pure albums amongst others. He used both tenor and soprano saxes and his energetic dancing to keep the audience attentive.
Barbados maintains its ability to bring names to the festival that patrons talk about long after, while Luther Vandross and Jill Scott were fantastic, something tells me that Arturo Tappin will be the talking point for this year’s festival.

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