Jazz Alliance of T&T (JATT) will honour Fitzroy Coleman during Trinidad & Tobago Jazz Week scheduled for June 24 � 28 in celebration of International Jazz Day 2013 under the theme, The Bridge Between Their Soul & Our Music.
The scheduled activities will engage all ages at various venues including schools, restaurants, and the Nalis Children's Library. The main event on June 28, at Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain, will bring the curtains down with a stellar performance by local and foreign artistes.
According to JATT president Sean Thomas, "...due to unforeseen circumstances our activities for IJD had to have been postponed. However, T&T can and will experience a week of jazz music, workshops and collaborations. Audiences will witness an unforgettable jazz event come June 28 at Central Bank where local icon, Fitzroy Coleman, will be honoured.
"Coleman's bio is spectacular: He has been named as one of the top 100 greatest jazz guitarists ever, in a poll conducted by the popular music website known as digitaldreamdoor.com and stands at number 93 on a list of the top 100 guitarists. George Benson stands at number 21 and leading the pack is Wes Montgomery who is number one.
"Jazz musicians and lovers of the genre from around the world send in their votes for the poll. Selection criteria are originality, versatility, significant impact and influence within the genre. Nominees are also chosen for their innovations, their technical ability for improvisation, musical expression as well as compositional skill and creative inspiration."
Coleman was born in Alfredo Street, Woodbrook. His father was a steamroller driver who played the guitar as a hobby. He did not want young Fitzroy to touch his prized instrument and so he fashioned a home-made guitar for the young Coleman by nailing a flat pan to a piece of wood and stringing marling on it. Eventually Coleman got fed-up with the contraption and whenever his father was at work or went out he picked up the real guitar and taught himself how to play.
His father caught him one day realising that he had learnt to play well without any teaching and allowed him to use it freely. It would not be long when he got the attention of Captain Arthur Cipriani, who took the young man to perform at dances and concerts in the Princes Building and the Royal Victoria Institute. In 1942, Coleman joined the Len Woodley orchestra and by 1945 he was heading off to England to be a part of a Caribbean music band being put together by a man named, Al Jennings.
Coleman was considered to be among the top jazz guitarists of the day across Britain, Europe and the United States. He played regularly on the BBC and accompanied the likes of Mahalia Jackson, Tony Bennett, Eartha Kit, Lena Horne, and calypsonians, including Kitchener, Roaring Lion and Beginner.
For more information on TnT Jazz Week visit us on Facebook: Jazz Alliance of Trinidad and Tobago or call 625-7123 / 689-4298.