Nancy Wilson, Freddy Cole
Michael Boothman, Ronald Hinkson & Stanley Jordan
@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
May 11 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 Three Guitars featuring Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson, Michael Boothman and Stanley Jordan stood centre of a moody lit stage, assisted by what seemed like a strategically placed above and behind stage full moon. This seemed an omen for the melodious night ahead.
With occasional glances and nodding prompts to each other, the three soon established an unbreakable rhythm. All three delicately caressed the warm air around us with song, rather like finely tuned birds of paradise sharing words / moments, or maybe stories of love and life. Respectfully, Hinkson and Boothman left the stage allowing Jordan to ‘sing on his own’.
If – like me you have a Stanley Jordan album, but filed it away after the first airing hoping it might grow on you later... I advise you watch and listen to this man play his guitar LIVE. If you are not left dumb struck after such an experience, I would suggest you see your doctor the next day requesting a complete check up. Jordan is no less than a guitar genius. His ‘Touch or Tapping’, technique alone will mesmerise you. I now look at all parts of a guitar from a completely different angle. Just when we thought it was safe to take breath, Jordan moved deeper onto the stage floor and unveiled a grand piano. After a few peaceful moments play, Jordan picked up his guitar while still seated and accompanied himself on piano.
Hinkson and Boothman returned to the stage for further collaboration with respectful smiles. This time Bothman was given space to explore his self penned - “Song from my Soul”, followed closely by a love ballad, led by Jordan.
I picked up my lonely looking guitar when I returned home that evening, turned it around, looked at the strings, stroked the wood and then put it down. I would need a lifetime of lessons and higher intervention to achieve anything close to what I heard.
Lionel Frederick Cole – brother of Nat King Cole amd long-term friend of Nancy Wilson (his and her words), moved humbly into position behind his piano.
“This is an invitation to relax with a little chatter”. Cole explained warmly.
Cole could do no wrong from this point forward. His raspy effortless voice immediately rousing a few mature women in front row seats to shift position.
It was clear from the offset that Cole’s repertoire would be broad. His rendition of Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are” performed with meticulous husky vocals and smooth piano accompaniment. Lionel Ritchie’s “Still” given similar treatment with added eye twinkle for ladies in the front row. Cole makes it all look and sound easy. He started playing the piano from the age of five and has been recording since 1952 so his perfectionism has had ample time to develop.
“Get rid of that hum!”
Cole’s calm, but firm request to the hard working sound engineers, prior to his dynamic performance of “Easy Living” (made famous by Billie Holiday).
Cole continued his relaxing, engaging set without breaking sweat.
The night air continued to cool as he made way for his friend -
Grammy & Emmy award winning Mrs Nancy Wilson gracefully entered stage left dressed immaculately in a cool, designer white trouser suit. Her rapport with St. Lucia patrons was immediate, after all – she has been here before.
With a substantial catalogue of recordings to choose from Mrs Wilson could afford to cherry pick her, as well as her fans favourites. Songs such as “Day In, Day Out”, “Why Did I Choose You” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” were all well received. Wilson and her loyal accomplished band were able to continue along the same smooth, sultry and polished vein that Freddie Cole and band had started. The only added ingredient here was an experienced woman’s touch!
Mrs Wilson not only sings a song, she lives it! Her voice may not always hit the highs of a younger Ms Wilson, but her style, presence and stage authority ensure you are left with a positive and warming impression. I truly felt as though I had taken a little bit of Nancy, The Three Guitars and Freddie home with me that evening.
After 54 years in the business Nancy Wilson has decided to spend more time with her family. After giving so much of herself in the recording studio and on stage, I believe she deserves a ‘time out’, though it is clear old and new fans alike will miss her immensely.
Stanley Jordan - guitar, Ronald Hinkson - guitar
Michael Boothman - guitar
Freddy Cole - piano
Nancy Wilson - vocals
Additional information by Carole Clemesha
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.