Jazz Jamaica plus special guests, Abram Wilson
& London Community Gospel Choir
@ Southbank Centre's / Royal Festival Hall
23 November 2007
Click an image to enlarge.
In 1991, inspired by the rhythms of traditional Jamaican music
and the largely improvisational nature of jazz, original Jazz Warrior,
and veteran jazz double bassist, Gary Crosby turned a musical concept
into a joyful reality.
Cosby's concept was to create a quintessential fusion of mento,
ska, reggae and jazz, playing classic and modern jazz standards
alongside Jamaican folksongs. To achieve this, he gathered together
a group of musicians drawn from the jazz and reggae circuits, each
of whom is a distinguished musician in his own right. The result
was Jazz Jamaica.
Over the next 8 years, Cosby successfully developed the Jazz Jamaica
concept by introducing a stream of talented young jazz musicians,
so increasing the size of the pool of Jazz Jamaicans, and enabling
him to extend the boundaries of the music played. Collectively,
Cosby and his musicians represent the finest exponents of this unique
musical fusion known as skazz, a fusion loved and appreciated by
everyone, of all ages and colours around the globe.
After recording four great albums with Jazz Jamaica, Cosby was ready
to move to the next stage. In March 1999 he took his concept further
by expanding the core line-up of Jazz Jamaica to formal big band
status adding a raft of guest soloists. The result is the Jazz Jamaica
All Stars, a 20-piece band featuring three generations of musicians
of all colours between the ages of 24 and 72, drawn from diverse
sectors of the jazz community. The line up features vocals, five
saxophones, four trumpets, and four trombones with a rhythm section
of double bass, piano, drums, guitar and percussion. Featured artists
include Denys Baptiste, Andy Sheppard, Soweto Kinch, Juliet Roberts,
Orphy Robinson, Guy Barker, Kevin Robinson, Ashley Slater, Annie
Whitehead and Alex Wilson.
The music has its genesis in the London jazz scene of the 1940s
and 1950s which embraced the music of the first generation of Caribbean
immigrants, and there is a creative line that runs through free
jazz pioneer Joe Harriott in the 1950s, via guitarist Ernest Ranglin's
work in the 1960s, through the Jazz Warriors and saxophonist Courtney
Pine in the 1980s, to today's generation.
Jazz Jamaica All Stars is the first formally structured big band
to play this particular blend of jazz. They reflect the Caribbean
music tradition and demonstrate in vibrant and exuberant form its
massive contribution to a living, constantly changing jazz tradition.