Chasing Music: Jammin’ in Jamaica, Day 2

First thing I remember about this is…room service is the best way to have breakfast. No joke.

My room had a balcony, so after I washed up, got dressed and room service arrived with some of the most decadent eats that I’ve had to date, I was going to eat while sitting out there. The air around the resort smelled like honeysuckle, oddly enough, except that it was drizzly. So, instead I caught up on my NaNo work with Book 4.

Also note this: Jamaican coffee is amazing. Take it from this coffee buff.

Now, back to the course of events.

One of the standard things about destination concerts, whether they are the Montego Bay getaway or a jazz cruise, there is an artists’ panel, wherein the artists answer the audience’s questions and get a good feel for how the audience likes the music that they receive. The very first panel, I was there with my notebook in hand (noveling, not interview jot-downs!), and the gents on panel were Euge Groove and Bobby Lyle.

One thing that I observed was that a lot of the questions and remarks from the audience were that  jazz music – specifically contemporary/smooth – has been slowly squeezed out of the airwaves. It’s something that I noticed in abundance when CD 101.9 shut down here in NY and turned to rock instead – and, considering that it was the station that began my love affair with this music, it’s rather saddening to know that this is where it was going.

So, I speak up, and bring up that I am, point blank, the youngest person here and that my generation largely disregards this style of music. Incidentally, when I would bring a friend to any show, they would have an amazing time. So I ask: what can I do, and what can the musicians do to show the younger crowd that this music is out there and waiting?

Euge and Bobby’s replies were that I have the concept right: bring people in, show them the party and let them come back. Because – and my own experience shows it – they do come back once they get a feel for what ‘smooth jazz’ really is. It also brings back the Spyro Gyra show at the Blue Note, wherein the same thing happened: I’m the youngest person there, I brought in a friend of mine, and now she’s anxious to get into another show – because she loves it.

Fast-forwarding past sunning myself with the Caribbean Sea next to me and reading Master and Margarita until I ceased looking pasty (if you don’t know me in person, know this: I’m one of those people who get so pale that they’re damn near transparent in the winter), it was time for dinner and then, Jeff Golub.

Food was decadent, as usual, and so was the creme-brulee for dessert.But never mind the dessert – that was the show itself, truly.

When I think about Jeff Golub, I think immediately of Avenue Blue, more specifically Nightingale. I have a major affinity to the guitar as a whole and what Jeff does there is tweak the tone to where it very strongly reminds me of old-school funk a la John Tropea and bends the strings into this slick, sly, intricate piece of blues that is a surefire way to please to both jazz and old-school funk fans alike.

So, by the time I went down to the outdoor stage, I will admit to having an expectation. And, Mr. Golub did not disappoint.

His style and skill were definite and irrefutable, especially when he blasted straight into Shuffleboard off his newest album (Blues for You, 2009, and damn is it good). The rhythm was utterly infectious and smacked very strongly of the same old-school funk that I love very much with Nightingale. S-l-i-c-k.

This time, however, there was another person joining in and that was Nick Colionne. Which posed the question, what do you get when you combine old-school funk with a sound that smacks heavily of the late, great Wes Montgomery? The answer was that night. Astounding show, astounding contrast of styles on guitar and I can think of no face left unsmiling.

Now, I shall add this about Nick Colionne – the first time I met him was on the Smooth Music cruise in January. At that event, he was the host of the jam sessions, which went on from midnight to last man standing…which was usually about 3-4am. I had a stateroom right under the theatre and while I loved what I heard, it certainly didn’t make for a good night’s sleep (never mind also that the boat creaks horribly when you’re at the nose…which I was…yeah.) So the minute I saw that signature hat on stage, I started grinning because I knew very well what I was in for at the after-party.

I just wish I could remember where I got the energy to crawl into bed afterwards. Between the music, the food and nowhere near enough coffee, I think I was out before my head touched the pillow.

Annnd tomorrow: Nick Colionne, Jonathan Butler and NaNo by the sea.


ETA: Nov. 2009: Jammin’ in Jamaica, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 writeups.


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