There is something in the way of entertainment for just about anyone's taste this weekend from jazz and opera to theatre, soca, reggae and more. And for those who are looking for something else there are some really good movies on at the cinemas and IMAX Theatre.
One of the premiere events this weekend is tomorrow's Jazz Artists on the Greens (JAOTG) at the WASA compound, St Joseph. Regarded as one of the few true jazz events in the Caribbean, JAOTG 2013 is a streamlined version of previous editions with just four acts being featured all of them delivering full length concert performances.
Opening the show this year is the Jesse Ryan 6Tet led by one of the region's rising young saxophonists. Ryan, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Boston began his musical career playing the steelpan in church. As a child his father taught him music theory and he also played guitar in those early years.
He picked up the saxophone in church where he played for worship and fell in love with the instrument, becoming a skilled and much-in-demand saxophonist throughout the island by his teens. For JAOTG Ryan will present a mix of jazz standards, contemporary jazz and fusions of jazz and calypso through which he will pay tribute to a couple of calypsonians including the late great Pretender by performing, "Never Ever Worry".
Coming in from Canada is the Alexis Baro Sextet led by the Cuban-born trumpeter who is defined as a progressive jazz/funk musician. Baro was born and raised in the heart of Havana, where his musical influences began with his family. His mother is a cellist with the National Ballet Company of Cuba, she is also a music teacher. One of his aunts is a viola player for the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba and two other aunts played violin and piano respectively.
Baro began playing the trumpet at a very early age and was classically trained in Cuba graduating from the Amadeo Roldan Music Institute, one of the top music schools in Cuba where he received his music teaching certification. From the age of 19 he worked as the lead trumpet in the Radio and Television Orchestra of Cuba.
Baro made Toronto Canada his permanent home in January 2001, where he continued to broaden his musical influences. He has toured Europe and Canada with various artistes and bands including Canefire, Kollage, Hilario Duran and our own David Rudder. He has also performed with the likes of Paquito D'rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Andrea Bocelli,Omara Portuondo,Robert Goulet,Paul Shaeffer, Paul Anka, David Foster, Baby Face,Wayne Newton and Michael Buble among others.
In 2004 Baro and Kollage received a National Jazz award for Best Acoustic Group and he has also been nominated many times for Trumpeter of the Year. In 2007 he was co-winner of a Juno Award with Hilario Duran's Big Band. He also performs on live television for Canadian Idol and Canada's Walk of Fame.
Another local group performing is the Xavier Strings, a sibling string duo that explores the versatility of the violin and viola blended with modern electronic instruments. Xavier Strings are sisters Janine and Janelle Xavier who are considered to be musical improvisational specialists. They have thus far performed in Europe and across the Caribbean in a range of jazz, classical, Caribbean and fusion as soloists, a duet and as part os various ensembles..
The sisters have also created and performed original work for the BBC and have also worked alongside artistes such as the late Ras Shorty I, the Love Circle, Black Stalin, Sean Daniel, Rikki Jai and Ravi B. Tomorrow you will experience the versatility of these ladies and their band when they perform jazz expressions of soca, chutney, reggae as well as African, and Middle Eastern music.
Bringing the curtain down on JAOTG 2013 with a 90-minute performance will be pannist, Andy Narell and his band. What can we write of Narell that local steelpan and jazz lovers don't already know. The man is as Trini as a plate of pelau with buss-up-shot and curried chicken with alloo and channa on the side. He is one of the people along with our own greats who is responsible for the
steelpan gaining the respect that it has the world over.
Narell has recorded more than a dozen albums as leader, one as co-leader with Relator (University of Calypso), two as co-leader of the Caribbean Jazz Project (with Paquito D'Rivera and Dave Samuels), and two as co-leader of Sakésho (with Mario Canonge, Michel Alibo, and Jean Philippe Fanfant).
He has worked with artists as diverse as Chucho Valdes, Bela Fleck, Marcus Miller, Maraca y Otro Vision, Willie Colon, Bebo Valdes, Flora Purim and Airto, Vince Mendoza, The WDR Big Band(Koln), The Metropole Orchestra (Holland), Andre Ceccarelli, Spyro Gyra, Dr. Billy Taylor, Nancy Wilson, Irakere, Tito Puente, Orquestra Aragon, David Rudder, Black Stalin, Andre Tanker, Angelique Kidjo, Etienne Mbappé, Mokhtar Samba, Karim Ziad, Ray Lema, Kora Jazz Trio, Kassav, Vusi Mahlasela, Philippe Lavil, Toto, Aretha Franklin, and the Kronos String Quartet.
Narell has also performed on movie scores by James Horner, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Hans Zimmer, Michel Colombier, and Thomas Newman, and his compositions have been featured in the film The Firm, and on tv shows like Designing Women and Going to Extremes, as well as commercials for Apple Computers, Sony, Porsche, and Southwest Bell. Enough of the name dropping, just come out tomorrow and be blown away by him and the other wonderful musicians on the line-up.
On Sunday you can have a great time while contributing to a worthy cause. The LIV Concert takes place at the O2 Park, Chaguaramas from 3 p.m. and will feature performances by a mix of local and regional artistes including reigning joint International Power Soca Monarch, Machel Montano HD who has promised to deliver a performance that will not be soon forgotten.
Coming from Jamaica is Sizzla Kalonji who has always given of his time and talent freely towards charitable causes especially charities for children. Morgan Heritage will also deliver a full length performance at the concert the theme of which is, "Unity." Also performing are; Shurwayne Winchester, Freetown Collective, Blaxx and the Roy Cape All Stars, Olatunji Yearwood, Nadia Batson, Positive, Kees Dieffenthaller, Chucky, Makamillion Family, 5 Miles To Midnight, Terri Lyons, 5 Star Akil, Erphaan Alves, Shal Marshall, Super Jigga TC, Patrice Roberts, Farmer Nappy and others.
The Magic Flute
In the way of theatre there is Mozart's the Magic Flute being presented at the Little Carib Theatre by the Classical Music Development Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago. This is an opera in two acts composed by Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue. The work premiered in 1791 at Schikaneder's theatre, the Freihaus-Theatre auf der Wieden in Vienna.
The cast features soprano Naette Lee (Vocal Recital winner Music Festival 2012) as the young princess Pamina who has been kidnapped from her mother the Queen of the Night sung by Natalia Dopwell (second prize winner at 2012 Concurso y Festival de Canto Lirico, Peru). The brave young prince Tamino (tenor Raguel Gabriel) embarks on the mission to rescue Pamina from the sorcerer Sarastro (bass Shellon Antoine) accompanied by the merry birdcatcher Papageno (sung on alternate evenings by Daniel DeCranie-Pierre and Kendall Joseph).