There was practically a full house at Little Carib Theatre in Woodbrook for Tony Paul's Evening of Jazz concert on August 19. The show of support for Paul (Anthony Woodroffe Jr), who staged the show to help fund further studies in music, was testament to the fact that he has become one of the more popular young saxophone players on the local jazz scene. He has adopted the new moniker to differentiate himself from other musicians with the same name-including his father, a veteran musician and music teacher. Paul selected songs from some of his musical influences, and on the cast featured guests who had worked with him along his journey as a musician.
Paul got a BA (Hons) in Jazz Studies from Leeds College of Music in the UK. He has been accepted to do his Master's in music at the prestigious institution, but needs to raise £12,000 for tuition fees. He is taking a year to work, practice and raise funds. At Sunday's show, he was joined by a talented group of musicians, including Michael "Ming" Low Chew Tung on keyboards, Dean Williams on guitar, Joseph Mellville on trumpet, David Richards on drums, Rodney Alexander on bass and James Fenton on percussion/congas. Paul stood at the front of the stage, surrounded by his instruments: soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, flute and clarinet. Also featured were pan music veteran Ray Holman, vocalists Vaughnette Bigford and Afiya Athill.
The first half of the show focused on local composers, including Paul, Ella Andall, Dean Williams and Holman. The pan pro played on his upbeat Bazodee, the airy Down the Caroni River, and Memory of Your Smile, with Bigford pouring out rich tones on vocals, as well as Paul's fast-paced Yeah, No, Maybe-which showcased Alexander on a hot bass solo. Holman's music-indeed his very presence-raised the vibes in the darkened Roberts Street theatre; as the audience swayed and bopped their heads in time. The selections in the second half were by international composers, making for a more jazzy, funk-influenced, eclectic sound. It had been a big night, but only one step in Paul's musical journey. He plans to stage further fundraising events in the near future.