One could not have predicted the thrilling performances that came from artistes at the Honey Jazz Gala last Saturday night at the Frank Collymore Hall.
Headline act, Ted Louis Levy, who is a Broadway favourite and familiar face to Barbadians charmed the audience and showed them why he is one of America’s most celebrated tap dance artists. The Tony Awardee humored the audience as he recapped his experiences in Barbados having visited the island numerous times, but they were spellbound as he tapped and sang Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy. Backed by the Honey Jazz Band led by Mylon Clarke, Levy’s unique and captivating performance was indeed memorable and left the audience wishing for more.
Honey Jam alumna, Dominique Grant from Canada, was also quite the treat. Standing on the stage with mermaid blue pastel hair in a silver two-piece set, one could not help but look at her as she soulfully sang Joss Stone’s Don’t Know Why. The crowd was enthralled as she sang Fast Car by Tracy Chapman and Young World from her album Young Dreams. During her performance, Grant commended the founder of Honey Jazz, Ebonnie Rowe, for encouraging aspiring female artistes and reminding them that they could achieve their dreams.
Famously known for its all-female cast, this year Honey Jazz had a new male MC in the form of Kirk Brown but local vocalist/actor Jabari Browne and pannist Hashim Durant were part of the cast.
Browne’s mashup of Autumn Leaves by Damien Marley, Heart Don’t Stand a Chance by Anderson Paak and Beneath your Beautiful by Labrinth in the second half was unconventional as he combined singing, rapping and bits of theatre. During his performance of Beneath Your Beautiful he was joined on stage by his sister, Barbadian soca artiste and Honey Jam alumna, Nikita. Their voices meshed together for a flowing and touching close.
Another local act that captivated the audience was Adrianna Myers during her performance of the Spanish classic “Besame Mucho” and Nina Simone’s Feeling Good where Mayers moved amongst the audience. Her stellar performance of Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better) by Chaka Khan in the second half was a crowd favourite with persons forming a choir to sing along. The infectious hook reverberated across the room.
Vocal dynamite, Toni McIntosh, flirted and thrilled the crowd in the second half as she belted Work It Out by Beyoncé. A former recipient of the Honey Jazz sponsorship, Jessica Rose, delivered a stunning dramatic performance featuring the Marlon Legall Voice Project. The group sang Nature Boy by Nat King Cole.
Well known Honey Jazz alumna and esteemed Barbadian vocalist, Leigh Phillips, seduced the audience as she stood in a blinding sequined dress and performed Black Coffee (My Sunday Dreams to Dry) and Anita Baker’s Caught Up in the Rapture in the second half. The talented Akeiba Inniss also delivered during her sultry rendition of Tell Me All About It by Natalie Cole.
It was a fantastic night of music, filled with love and laughter as the entire cast joyfully closed the show singing Turn Your Love Around by George Benson.