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John Novello

Freewinds band

Kenny Garrett, John Novello with Freewinds Band
@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festval
May 13 2006

Click an image to enlarge.

Photographs & review in order of stage appearance.

The scenery near this venue entrance alone is enough to take your breath away. Your senses are bombarded by the smell of chicken, fish and other freshly prepared delicacies on offer. You cannot ignore ‘or not admire’ the sight of multi-coloured stalls and multi-coloured homemade items on display by local sellers, who proudly parade their wares. Illuminated trees and historical ruins silhouette against the revamped hooded stage (to cater for all types of weather).

The first daytime venue at Pigeon Island and probably the most popular part of the Jazz Festival began with the promise of another hot day - and even less clothing being worn by excited patrons young and old.

A relaxing sail on the coast, adjacent to the main road made a perfect start to the day, with a dinghy dropping us off at the jetty for a short trot to the main stage.

John Novello biography

Composer, Jazz and R&B Hammond keyboard guru John Novello has played alongside music greats such as Chic Corea and Oleta Adams. The sight and physical presence of his large ‘old school desk look-alike’ Hammond organ alone was enough to set journalists, and patrons tongues wagging. It took some time before the well-worked stage hands finally got it all together, especially after Rihanna’s sparse stage set up.

At this time of the day it was important to set a pace that the now dehydrated crowd could follow. Many patrons had taken time out for refreshments, so Novello and co would have to provide their own refreshing treat to encourage people back to their usual space.

Novello’s vibrant self-penned compositions were the order of the day. “Someday” and “Blues Rock” allowed Novello’s Hammond and the intricate saxophone solos of Jeff Nathanson to come to life. The Freewinds Band also proved why they needed the whole stage to breath. Each band member’s own energetic personality soon working it’s way into each composition.

The powerhouse vocals of Michele Henderson and Carmel Halene were a pleasant surprise, and an eye-catching addition to the stage line-up. Halene has worked with Novello before, so her raw soulful / rock combination was bound to work well, and win the attention of male and female patrons alike.

Novello’s contribution to the band's overall cohesion can be easily overlooked. His instrument is BIG, the many colours and textures he paints on his musical canvas are subtle, but never the less unmistakable.

Just when you thought it safe to presume you heard all of what Novello and co had to offer, the unforgettable, electric guitar chord structure of Prince’s “Purple Rain” stunned our ear drums. A dramatic finale to an extremely well received set.

John Novello and The Freewinds Band contagious melodic magic worked wonders for the well-heated Pigeon Island patrons. Their bluesy / soulful set finished just as the sun was at it’s mid-afternoon peak. I found it difficult enough to maintain and adjust my camera’s exposure, so I really do not know how the band or black leather clad ladies kept their composure in the searing ninety-degree heat!

Kenny Garrett biography

Kenny Garrett is hailed as, one of the most exciting saxophonists of the past decade! His career started with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He went on to join the Art Blakey Messengers, and was one of the last significant graduates of the Miles Davis Group. Garrett has worked with artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Herbie Hancock, and Sting to name a few.


With the above extremely condensed biography in mind, I was expecting great things from Kenny Garrett. Though the sun’s initial power was starting to wane, you could still feel the heat from the stage as Garrett walked on with alto saxophone in hand, smiling and waving to the expectant crowd. Within a few seconds Garrett started whipping up a mellow storm.

Garrett has a commanding presence and authoritative tone; he can stir many emotions with cool haunting melodies, funky sax solos, or hard-hitting bop. His spoken words alone make you ‘sit up and listen’. By now he had brought the crowd to its feet with the aptly titled “Happy People”.

The sun began to set at 6.30 PM, making way for the gradual charm of coloured stage lighting. The many hues and shadows seemed to dance with excitement as Garrett and his adept musicians continued to cast their spell over the swaying crowd.

If one musician alone can encapsulate the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, the many colours, charm, wit, and above all - the outstanding quality of music it has to offer, Kenny Garrett is your man.

John Novello - Hammond Organ
Freewinds Band
John Politakis - drums
Jeff Nathanson - saxophone
Gabby Mercera -percussion
Steven Schlussel - bass guitar
Patrick Zagury - guitar
Kenny Garrett - saxophone

Report Robin Francis
Additional information Carole Clemesha

John Politakis

Pigeon Island patrons

Kenny Garrett band Kenny Garrett band

Pigeon Island patrons

Pigeon Island patrons Pigeon Island patrons

Jazz nails

Pigeon Island patrons


Patrick Zagury

John Novello with Freewinds band

John Politakis

Gabby Mercera

Jeff Nathanson

Michele Henderson

Michele Henderson

Carmel Halene

Carmel Halene

Carmel Halene

Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett band







Kenny Garrett - Standard Of Language Kenny Garrett -  African Exchange Student Kenny Garrett - Black Hope
Kenny Garrett - Songbook Kenny Garrett -  Pursuance (The Music Of John Coltrane) Kenny Garrett - Triology

I love John Novello’s website.
You really get a taste of the man himself just by reading his self-penned biography alone.


John Novello - Organik John Novello - Threashold John Novello - Always And Forever John Novello - Here And Now



Click Kenny Garrett's image to see him with Chick Corea & John McLaughlin in London...

Kenny Garrett with Chick Corea & John McLaughlin (Click to go to this page)

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