It was Christmas 2012.
Single mom, Cheryl Alexander, lived with her four children in a small house in Jacob’s Hill, Wallerfield blocked around with plywood and galvanise sheets.
Exactly at 10 pm Kes the Band raised the energy level at World Music Night with a dynamic performance that brought patrons to their feet and kept them there throughout the session at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park. The event, one of the premiere events of the Tobago Jazz Experience, got off to a pulsating start on Thursday with a splendid opening act from Ravi B and Karma, whose session included Palance, Advantage and Toro Toro. Along with Grammy award nominee and headline act Trey Songz, Caribbean INXS, Jamaican Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage and local alternative rock band Orange Sky also performed . Ravi B appeared to have redeemed himself from the “pelt something on the stage” incident. This time around he was inviting patrons to dance and they loved his performance.
The message lyrics which followed from Orange Sky, who offered the popular Rough and Tumble, Love Each Other and Meditation, tamed the audience. As the group’s leader sang “switch off my phone for a peaceful meditation” several audience members appeared to have been disconnected from the performance on stage as they reconnected with their Blackberries. Caribbean INXS and Gramps Morgan took the audience into a mellow mood. Among the patrons were Chief Justice Ivor Archie and chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Orville London. Perhaps, they had too much meditation and enough of Gramps’ instructions to say “Yes Rasta” as he interacted with them.
They wanted some “wotlessness” and Kes the Band provided just that with a range of genres that included pop rock, R&B and soca. He opened and closed with Wotless, sang Thunder, Lion, which he described as the song that gave him his bread, Loving You, Come Gyal, Ah Thing and Let me Know from his new album Stereotype, which will be released next month. The singer took the audience back to the time he jumped on stage with Patti La Belle at the 2006 Plymouth Jazz Festival.
La Belle was impressed with the artist. In an interview after his performance he said he was fighting for the stage then as he was not billed to perform at that show. Now, the battle has been won and he is fully booked until Carnival 2012. Kees noted he was enjoying his best year yet but he was reaping the benefits of ten years of hard work. The event was well attended and the crowd, which grew to a few thousands, did not let the slushy ground caused by early afternoon rainfall deter them from prancing and enjoying themselves.
The Heritage Park had puddles of water and provided a muddy challenge to several fashionably-dressed, high- heeled women. The jazz events continue today and tomorrow with Jazz on the Beach at Mt Irvine Bay Hotel from 10 am on both days and with Street Beat at Plymouth from 3 pm. The festival ends tomorrow with a Beach Jazz Fiesta, featuring Randy Crawford and Joe Sample and begins at 4 pm at the Heritage Park.