April is fast approaching and I’m really looking forward to working again with vocalist, Keisher Downie. She’s only done a couple of Jazz Jamaica gigs with us so far (including our Royal Festival Hall Catch A Fire show last year), so you may not have seen her with us yet, but she’s a wonderful singer whose voice blends really well with the band.
We had FANTASTIC gig at The Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton on Friday. It was a real trek getting there and back through 80mph wind gust and sheets of rain, but it was well worth the effort. Thanks to everyone who braved the weather to get there. A wonderful, appreciative audience. And thanks very much also to Alison and her great production team at The Arena for looking after us so well. We’re looking forward to seeing you again very soon!
Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton UK 14-02-2014
Review and photograph by John Watson
Bassist Gary Crosby has long been a key figure on the scene, and he has the knack of creating some exceptional musical surprises.
As the boss of Dune Music, as artistic director of Tomorrow’s Warriors and as leader of the Jazz Jamaica All Stars and his bands Nu Troop and Guava, Gary established himself as a key figure on the scene, working with major established artists and also providing a platform for a great deal of exciting new talent.
His current band – Groundation – marks another milestone in the bassist’s career, featuring him with three acclaimed young players: alto saxophonist Nathaniel Facey (of Empirical), guitarist Shirley Tetteh, and drummer Moses Boyd. On Friday the musicians battled their way from London through the storms and reached the Arena Theatre…
It was with deep and sincere sadness, and complete shock, that we learned of the untimely passing of our good
Mat Fox, Musical Director of Kinetika Bloco on 7 February.
Mat was a true Warrior, a real, honest to goodness, grass roots worker. Using his role as a teacher in South London schools, and as leader of his wonderful Kinetika Bloco project that he founded in 2000, he championed diversity and was an ambassador for gender equality. Together we opened a pathway for a number of our current and former Tomorrow’s Warriors to further their musical careers.
Mat will be greatly missed by so many of the young people and their parents, and those of us who knew him as a friend and fellow soldier, working in the field to bring about a positive change in young people’s lives.
All of us at Tomorrow’s Warriors send our love and warmest…
After working in Denys Baptiste’s 14-piece band on his powerful Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring! project, I’m taking some time out to work with my own comparatively small band, Groundation with the wonderful Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Shirley Tetteh (guitar) and Moses Boyd (drums). I love this band! Everyone has a chance to express themselves and there’s a nice chilled vibe amongst us.
Ronny was a polite, chilled, likeable guy. Although I was asked, we never got around to playing a formal gig together, just a couple of jam sessions. He knew of my uncle, Ernest Ranglin so we always had something to talk about. We even spoke a few times about the possibility of Ronny doing a Jazz Jamaica set with us one day.
Ronny was one of a group of talented West Londoners I met in the mid-Eighties. He shone a light that helped show many British-born African-Caribbean musicians a world of opportunity beyond our shores, and provided employment and an artistic outlet for many young musicians for nigh on 20 years. Overall, my impression of Ronny is that he was a giver more than a taker. I liked and admired him a lot.
He also did something rare that will be remembered forever: he had a Jazz hit, making his success a success for the whole of the UK Jazz scene.
All of us in Jazz Jamaica are looking forward to heading saaaaf for our Christmas Party at our ‘home from home’, The Hideaway in Streatham later this month (Sunday 22 December). We always have great fun there and it’s a brilliant way to start winding down for the Christmas and New Year break. Looking down my blog, we could certainly do with a bit of cheer…very sadly, my last three posts are all RIPs.
Hope to see some of you there. Don’t be shy. Do come and say ‘Hi’ and join us for a celebratory Christmas cocktail or two, or three…