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Jazz on the Duke opts for virtual presentation for year two

The Duke Street Refurbishing Project will host its second staging of Jazz on the Duke in December, and they’re going virtual.

Initially conceived as a quarterly event to be executed over eighteen months, Jazz on the Duke, will this year, be presented as a virtual event, instead of its previous Duke Street venue.

And due to the trickle-down effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the decision was made to postpone the event.

However, organisers of Jazz on the Duke hopes to highlight jazz as a significant aspect of Jamaica’s music culture.

So, for the second iteration, the music affair, supported by the Kingston Restoration Company, is slated to go live virtually on Sunday, December 13 at 6 pm.

An update from the team advised that the show will go on as a live-stream event via the Jazz on the Duke YouTube channel, and Facebook and Instagram pages.

Duke Street Refurbishing Project manager Dr Blossom O'Meally-Nelson hopes to showcase jazz at its finest, ‘...the ambience and overall experience of jazz music will remain’.

‘The positive outcome of this year’s staging is that jazz fans and music lovers worldwide can enjoy the festivities.’

The concert will feature local and international jazz performers including Grammy-Award-winning bassist Curtis Lundy.

Lundy and a sextet, featuring the prodigious trombonist Frank Lacy, have been confirmed for the second staging.

While, Canadian saxophonist I-Sax and his quartet, as well as singer and actress Keisha Patterson and her group, will also be gracing the stage.

1 Lundy’s arrangement on Walk With Me, recorded by the ARC Gospel Choir, was sampled by rapper Kanye West and became West's Grammy Award-winning hit Jesus Walks.

2 Jamaica has produced many jazz musicians; among them Bertie King, Leslie Thompson, Wilton Gaynair, Dizzy Reece, and Joe Harriot – alumni of the Alpha Boys School, where they learnt the genres as youngsters in the music education programme.

3 Although some have found careers locally, in the past, limited opportunities for making a career playing jazz in Jamaica resulted in many migrating to built their careers overseas.

With immense expertise, cultural historian Herbie Miller is the creative nucleus of the Jazz on the Duke affair; he has curated an unparalleled experience.

This experience, that’s arguably Jamaica's first virtual live steam jazz fest will also feature local performers that include Jamaica’s top musicians: the Robbie Lyn Organ Quintet, Melvin Williams and JussJazz, among others.

‘We want to provide more opportunities for persons to encounter jazz and for our current jazz scene to flourish,’ Omeally-Nelson said.

Presenting this concert to viewers in a convenient, safe way will, according to Omeally-Nelson, ‘maintain engagement with the genre where live performances play a large part in the consumption of music.’

Jazz on the Duke is one of many efforts to revive interest in local music communities, arts, and culture, with downtown Kingston as the historic cultural backdrop.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) is the main sponsor, whose network supports the growth of targeted sports and entertainment tourism niche products.

Through this governance framework, sports and entertainment events are positioned, packaged, and marketed as part of Jamaica’s tourism product.

In addition, the project is supported by the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC). Dayton Wood, KRC’s general manager, maintains that the company is pleased to be a co-producer of the Jazz on Duke series of concerts.

‘Music, especially Jazz, soothes the soul and brings people together in harmony.’

‘We intend to showcase the fine musical talents that would have performed on Duke Street’ – that is known historically as the legal and financial district of our capital city.'

Jazz on the Blue organisers aims to contribute to the redevelopment of downtown Kingston as a flagship tourism product for both the foreign and local markets.

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