One radio announcer, upon hearing the CD — Perfect Combination—called Ken “Professor” Philmore to ask him how he managed to get a recording of the late Michael Jackson singing to pan accompaniment. This underscores the beautiful vocals on this latest Philmore CD done by Jerome Bissessar. The 14-track CD was launched on Monday at the Police 2nd Division Mess in St James and was attended by a large audience which included Dr David Toby; Snr Superintendent Anthony Dick, ASP George Alsop and other police officers; Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz, VP Bryon Serrette, secretary Richard Forteau and PRO Trevor Reid; pannist Clive Telemaque; and Philmore’s wife Sophie. Also seen were the mother and mother-in-law of popular CT Vibe 105.1FM DJ CG (Derek Silman), and Philmore’s sister Gail. The live entertainment segment of the programme was opened by veteran artiste KV Charles, followed by a performance by Philmore and Bissessar. Performances were regularly punctuated by rapturous, appreciative applause, especially when Bissessar rendered Jackson’s Human Nature. It was in this item that patrons were able to appreciate the uncanny similarity between the voice of Bissessar and that of MJ.
Perfect Combination includes covers of evergreen standards like Cruisin, Never Can Say Goodbye and My Girl, as well as Rockaway and Heaven’s Door. At the end of the live performances patrons danced the night away to the sounds of DJ Mr Q (Anthony John).
The Police 2nd Division Mess is the newest hangout and showplace in the north, and hosts a vibrant karaoke sing-off every Thursday night. It is also available to promoters wishing to have concerts and fetes. In fact, next week Saturday, calypsonian Dee Diamond has opted for this venue to launch his 50th anniversary of Independence calypso—Happy Golden Jubilee Red, White & Black. Showtime is 7.30 pm. Perfect Combination was produced at Junior Ibo Joseph’s studio in San Fernando and it’s truly a collector’s item.
Orville is alive
Trust Pulse to give the news first on anything concerning the national instrument. This week I was treated to two hot songs for the 2013 Panorama competition, including the one that could be the selection for defending national champion Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars.
Pan Wind is the title of Blackie’s infectious ditty, arranged by Leston Paul, while All Stars veteran tenor man Clive Telemaque is yet to christen his song, vocalised by Blaxx of Roy Cape All Stars. Seeming pleased as punch with his song, which carries a most unique melodic line, Telemaque said the naming of the piece would be left up to All Stars arranger Leon “Smooth” Edwards. All Stars’ winning selection this year—Play Yuhself—was composed by Telemaque. On a happy note, contrary to rumour last weekend, pan afficionado and judge Orville Wright is alive. Following an ann ouncement made last Saturday night at Phase II Pan Groove panyard that the Berklee College professor had passed, both Robert Greenidge and Ron Reid confirmed that Wright was alive, much to the relief of many. One other bit of good news is that pan pioneer Augustus “One Man” Mark has been released from hospital where he has been since June 10. Now aged 83, One Man is a foundation member of Casablanca Steel Orchestra, as well as founder of All Aces and Blanca 47 steelbands.
Also stoically fighting sickness is veteran Invaders pannist Francis Wickham. If a funeral can be defined as “good,” the late Franklyn Ollivierra had a damn good funeral. The late Highlanders/Starlift/Phase II pannist was given a send-off to match any ever held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Attended by thousands, I know this former son of Laventille would have been pleased with the celebration of his life, and the outpouring of love it generated amongst mourners. One pan pioneer who is alive and will be celebrated on Sunday evening is Pan Am North Stars icon Anthony Williams. The living pan legend will be honoured at the St James Amphitheatre for the 50th anniversary of North Stars winning the 1962 Steelband Music Festival with a memorable rendition of Johann Strauss’ Voices of Spring.
On Sunday, Williams will also be celebrating his 81st birthday and, in appreciation of those who have supported him for the past 50 years, he will honour five much younger arrangers — Ray Holman, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Earl Brooks, Robert Greenidge and Pelham Goddard. There will also be live performances by Witco Desperadoes, St James Tripolians, Scrunters Pan Groove and St James North Stars.