@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
13 May 2007
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The beauty and charm of Pigeon Island during the day, or night, never fails to excite the senses. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Caribbean Sea on the other, delicately lit palm trees gently kissing the sky, combined with the anticipation of a tremendous musical experience is surely enough to warm the coolest hearts.
10 August, 2008, Isaac Hayes was found lying unconscious by his treadmill in his home located east of Memphis, Tennessee. He was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, where he was pronounced dead at 2:08pm. Hayes is survived by 12 children, 14 grandchildren and his forth wife Adjowa. Click here for his full biography...
Hayes suffered a stroke in January 2006 apparently triggered from exhaustion. He has continued to perform periodically despite advice from doctors suggesting rest. Hayes allegedly was taken to hospital upon arrival in St. Lucia. Rumours that his show may be cancelled spread fast.
The indomitable Isaac Hayes walked slowly across the stage, passing three ‘backing keyboard players’ before reaching his own two keyboards. Hayes keyboards were obviously set out with surgeon like precision for his use, they also seemed to cocoon the soul legend. Guitarist and long time friend Charles “Skip” Pitts also took protective watchful position alongside Hayes.
Hayes’ appearance, clad in cool flowing white trousers and shirt, had the audience clapping, despite his painfully slow walk across the stage, but it was apparent from the outset that Hayes usual deep potent voice was somewhat muted. His accomplished band threatened to completely drown his voice for the first few minutes. Mixing engineers looked on frantically cautiously adjusting levels as he settled. Hayes persevered in true professional soul-man spirit and did stir patrons to ‘move’, specifically one young man who fervently wound his waist and played air guitar (much to the delight of his parents, guitarist Pitts and smiling onlookers). Kirk Whallum’s impromptu 2-minute sax solo was a pleasant surprise to patrons as well as Hayes, who seemed to become a little more animated during, and after Whallum’s appearance.
Hayes classics “Don’t you ever take your love away”, “Everything to Me”, and “Never Can Say Goodbye” seemed to have an eerie melancholy air about them. As strange as this sounds, listening to Hayes perform these beautifully crafted ballads was the high point for me.
Hayes stood in front of his band to conduct “The theme from Shaft” for his finale. The 65 yr old star then walked tentatively off stage, waving and smiling. One can only wonder if the rumour of this being his last show really is the case.
Overall Hayes did struggle to find his voice and seemed disorientated. His usual deep potent voice had a jaded tone, but all who know Hayes musical legacy did not walk away disappointed.
Isaac Hayes – vocals / keyboards
Charles “Skip” Pitts – guitar
Kirk Whalum – saxophone
Report by Robin Francis & Carole Clemesha
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.