The 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival – The Art of Music, set for January 26 to 28, has been lauded for its selected mix of current and more traditional offerings.
Putting together an all-star Jamaica lineup on the opening night of the festival is seen as significant as the securing of Canadian superstar Celine Deon, according to a prominent music writer.
Influential New York-based music writer, Patricia Meschino, who has covered all major Caribbean music festivals, credited Art of Music Productions (AMP) chairman Walter Elmore and his team for highlighting the indigenous music of Jamaica – past and present – during the festival’s opening on Thursday night (January 26).
“I am happy to see this move, linking the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence to the musical genius of Jamaica … it’s a nice idea and I look forward to see how it is presented,” said Meschino, the Caribbean correspondent for Billboard Magazine.
In honor of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence, the opening night of the festival is dedicated to all the rich sounds that have shaped Jamaica’s music over the past 50 years, and so it will feature ska, rocksteady, dancehall and reggae, the island nation’s influential contributions to world music.
Set to perform on the opening night are Shaggy, Richie Stephens and Gentleman, John Holt, Yellow Man, Half Pint, Marcia Griffiths, Lloyd Parkes and We The People, George Nooks, Luciano, Mykal Rose, AJ Brown, Pluto Shervington, Etana, Chris Martin, Marcia Barrett (Boney M), Derrick Morgan, Assassin (Agent Sasco), and Byron Lee’s Dragonaires.
The award-winning Meschino, who covers all aspects of Caribbean music and entertainment for other outlets like Air Jamaica’s SkyWritings magazine, predicts Thursday’s lineup will inspire pride in Jamaicans both at home and abroad with hundreds of Jamaican-Americans returning for the festival.
“I think it will be nostalgic for the Diaspora to see how Jamaican music has evolved and set the standard for so many other genres,” she said, adding such a presentation was “a first” for the jazz festival.
Meschino, recently honored for journalism excellence at the Caribbean Media Exchange symposium in the United States Virgin Islands, admired Elmore’s securing of Celine Deon: “Celine is bigger than a Top 40 artiste … she is on a stratospheric level in a class by herself … and her booking says a lot about the work Walter Elmore has being doing throughout the Caribbean over the years,” she asserted.
Other artistes slated to perform at the festival include Cee-Lo Green, Nicole Henry, Heads of State (featuring Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant), Jully Black, Earl Klugh, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, Destra, and Tessanne Chin and Tami Chynn.
The 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival – The Art of Music is supported in part by the Jamaica Tourist Board, Iberostar Hotels and Resorts, FLOW, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Half Moon – A RockResort, Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Sunset Resorts, CVM TV (official television partner), The Gleaner (official print partner), Scotiabank, Pure Country, Loyal Haylett Management Services, Delta Air Lines, Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Heineken, Johnny Walker and Smirnoff.