The sweet sounds of jazz filled the air at the Honey Jazz Gala concert, the diamond event of the Honey jazz Barbados Festival. Visitors from Australia, London, America, Finland, Canada and Ukraine were part of the appreciative audience who were enthralled by the vocal and musical excellence of the production this past Saturday at Frank Collymore Hall.
Host Caroline “Cici” Reid was joined this year by popular personality Kirk Browne and the pair proved to be a delightful dynamic combination, guiding the audience through the production seamlessly beginning with a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and continuing with an eclectic variety including interpretations of songs by Sade, Peggy Lee, Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones, Nat King Cole and more along with instrumentals by the Honey Jazz Band led by Mylon Clarke..
International acts Domanique Grant from Canada and American singer/tap dancer Ted Louis Levy from Chicago did not disappoint and left the audience wanting more. The statuesque Domanique had the crowd riveted as she did a mashup of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and her own song “Young World” along with a Norah Jones cover and audience favourite “Don’t Know Why.”
Ted Levy, a favourite of the Broadway to Barbados cast, engaged the audience with humour, talking with them throughout and showing why he has earned such wide acclaim as one of the best tap dancers around. He did his own unique rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” and brought in the entire cast to join him at the end of George Benson’s “Turn Your Love Around.”
The local acts were also stellar with Adrianna Mayers singing the Spanish classic “Besame Mucho”, powerhouse Toni McIntosh revving up the tempo with Beyonce’s “Work It Out” and Leigh Phillps making the audience swoon as she got “Caught Up in the Rapture”, an Anita Baker Classic. Jessica Rose, a one time recipient of a sponsored student ticket to attend Honey Jazz years ago, gave a stunning dramatic performance, directed by Marlon Legall, of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy.” Alyx Alanis did a jazzed up version of “Somebody That I Used to Know” confidently wading into the audience as she sang, Dannyele Leslie sang the huge Sade hit “Sweetest Taboo” and Akeiba Inniss flirted with the crowd with her rendition of Natalie Cole’s “Tell Me About It.”
Pannist Hashim Durant was the featured musician, joining the band for a beautiful rendition of Bill Withers’ “Just the Two Of Us.” There were also two surprise appearances that wowed the crowd by Betty B and also Nikita who performed with her brother Jabari.
Sweet like Honey, Smooth like Jazz – another fantastic night of live music.