Barbados has talent. Lots of it. And Sunday night’s Honey Jazz Concert at Frank Collymore Hall provided compelling evidence of that.
There was a good mix of mainly musical standards, as well as some refreshing originals delivered by the likes of Lexi and Adaeze in hip hop vein. The latter, with an infectious persona, lit up the stage with a self-penned original entitled Battle Cry while accompanied by one of the featured artistes, Debbie Reifer. Reifer also did three solo numbers and showed herself to be a definite star of the future. Most of all, she appeared to have great fun during her set, as exemplified by her opening numbers Too Damn Hot and Sentimental.
Perhaps the voice of the night was Lyn’l who simply sizzled during her renditions of the jazz standard My Baby Just Cares For Me covered by Nina Simone to great effect in the 1960s, and especially I Who Have Nothing, made popular by Ben E. King also back in the 1960s. It was on this latter rendition that Lyn’l’s vocals basically stole the night.
Christal Austin “cut her teeth” in the music business with the Richard Stoute Teen Talent show more than a decade ago and has always been a quality vocalist. She was pleasing on the ear during her time on stage where she performed the oft-recorded [and rendered] This Is My Life popularized by Shirley Bassey. She also acquitted herself extremely well on the classic Summertime.
For stage presence and connecting with her audience there was none better than Gigi Ma’at. She created quite an impression at the start of the show with Billie Holliday’s God Bless The Child That’s Got His Own and then teased the audience, one man in the packed hall in particular, with the frequently recorded Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets which is perhaps best remembered through its interpretations by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Petula Clark.
Rhesa Garnes with a searing rendition of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come was another highlight of the night. Also in fine voice were Mandy Cummins, Faith Callender and Erika Alexei during their stints on stage.
Guest performer Kellie Cadogan added further quality to the occasion with her renditions of The Nearness Of You and Aint Misbehaving.
The excellent vocalizations were enhanced by the artistry of the 1688 Collective with Rafael Hinds on keyboards, Shawn Layne on trumpet, Jomo Slusher on trombone, Joseph Callender and Mylon Clarke on saxophone, Petra Welch on drums, Jared Greaves on bass, John Matthews on guitar and Richard Smith on percussions.
The cohesion between the saxophonists was especially noteworthy.