Jazz for Hope 2011
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Jazz for Hope 2011

Kingston, Saint Andrew, Jamaica | SELF

Kingston, Saint Andrew, Jamaica | SELF
Band Jazz Reggae




"Jazz For Hope, A Fulfilling Evening"

Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

What began as a challenge to the members of a congregation 11 years ago, has blossomed into an annual fund-raiser. And those who turned out on Saturday, for the steadily growing Jazz for Hope, seemed to have enjoyed every musical drop.

It was an ideal evening to parade the sounds of jazz - man and nature in harmony. Almost like a cold shower on a hot day. A cool outdoor temperature complemented an indoor d├ęcor of strings of lights hiding behind a pristine looking backdrop. And during performances, well-controlled stage lights dictated the focus.

Though the programme was divided into four acts, there were only three performers: saxophonist, Ian Hird; vocalist Andrew Lawrence; and Seretse Small with his band, Acoustic Ambience. With a little chit-chat between items, the three delighted the fair-size turnout with jazz in its pure form and jazz fused with reggae and folk.

As expected, the concert began with a prayer by the Reverend Margaret Fowler, minister of the Old Hope Road-based church. Then it was on to the cool sounds of jazz. An emotional Small began the affair. He was obviously still grieving the recent passing of his father. "This year's jazz show is a very significant one, as my father died in May. My pieces will be in tribute to him," he said.


Despite his claim, his first selection was My Girl, in dedication to his daughter.

Small did deliver music dedicated to his father, though. His second selection, Praise the Name Of Jesus, was beautiful, though the touching narrative that preceded the musical item seemed to have had even more of an impact on the audience.

Later on, it was amid tears that Small related an account of one of his father's experiences before playing Kass, Kass. There was no shortage of applause when the group concluded the piece. Other musical selections that came from the band were a medley of reggae-jazz fusion.

Members of Acoustic Ambience: Kamla Hamilton and Kenric Lawrence on keyboard; Dale Haslam on bass; O. Davis on drums; and Aaron Green on percussion, along with Small, provided support and backing for Hird and Andrew Lawrence.

Before performing, Andrew Lawrence, the lone vocalist on the programme, said "I will be singing all love songs." "That's okay!" a female member of the audience replied. And Lawrence obliged. He began his six-song-stint on love with pure jazz in the form of Find One Hundred Ways. Five songs later, he had the audience rocking to Fi Mi Love Have Lion Heart, a jazz-folk fusion.

The waist-moving vocalist concluded his act with Baby I Could Change the World, a song that he explained "sums up" his theme.

But it was Ian Hird that provided the punch to the cool summer evening. And it was not because he seemed to have been a popular choice, nor was it because he began with a beautiful performance of Leaning on the Everlasting Arm, or when he made the audience feel every note of To God Be The Glory. It was also not because he played a fantastic Mother's Sin and did an amazing performance of a medley of jazz-mento songs such as Linstead Market and Evening Time, on flute. It was because he brought saxophone to the party and thus provided one of the finest ingredients of jazz.

At the end of the concert, an exhausted but elated Arlene Campbell told The Gleaner how the concept of Jazz for Hope came about.

"The show began when the church was celebrating its 40th anniversary and we were challenged, by birth month, to have some fund-raising event." As the leader of the May month, she took up the challenge. The idea for the show took root when she saw Small performing at another event, shared with him her idea and, as they say, the rest is history.

The first show's many challenges and the small turnout, perhaps due to rain, was no deterrent, Hope United persevered.

The proceeds from the first event went towards its building funds, but that of subsequent shows have gone towards activities like the church's children's programme for dance and drumming classes. - The Jamaica Gleaner


Jazz for Hope 2011, Griot Music GM1102 (CD) 2011



Jazz for Hope is a fundraising concert hosted by Griot Music in aid of the charities of the Hope United Church which is located in St. Andrew, Jamaica.

The series was in its 11th year in 2011 and the CEO of Griot Music, Seretse Small decided that this year the company would record an album in honor of the event, "Jazz for Hope 2011".

The recording features the talents of the performers who were featured in that year's concert.

Jazz for Hope 2011 features the band "Acoustic Ambiance" which includes Kamla Hamilton on Piano, Kenrick Lawrence on Keyboards, Dale Haslam on Bass, Obed Davis on drums and Seretse Small on Guitar. Special guests for the event were the singer Andrew Lawrence, Saxophonist/Flautist Ian Hird, Dale Haslam on Bass and Aaron Vereen on percussion.

The program is a diverse mix of music styles from Andrew Lawrence doing a stirring rendition of the folk song "Lion Heart', Ian Hird executing with speed and finesse a Charlie Parker medley and equally exciting a Jamaican folk medleys.

There are instrumentals ranging from Ian emoting with the classic "my favourite things" to easy listening renditions of Dennis Brown's "Silhouettes" to the dancing Calypso Jazz "Kas Kas" written by Seretse Small.

Having recorded 10 songs from the show in the album, "Jazz for Hope 2011" the presentation is now taking bookings for performances.