WE BEAT St James Live presented a well balanced and professional Pan Jazz night on June 7. The St James amphitheatre was aglow with sweet music coming from the national instrument.
The St James Improvement Committee carefully chose the acts who all proved to be worthy, and local music was the winner.
The night’s highlight was clearly the reigning National Panorama Small band champion Golden Hands Steel Symphony. This band of children defied several comments like “why them children out so late” to show why they are champions.
Under the guidance of Vanessa Headley and Franka Hills-Hadley the youthful pannists performed song like Somewhere over the Rainbow, If it ain’t got that Swing, Central Park West, Fallen/Isn’t She Lovely, Be Green, Aap Jasa Koi Meri, Mighty Terror’s The Monkey, Ray Holman’s Waltz for Iris and Venessa Headley’s Sambalypso.
Golden Hands’ performance was very energetic and the children danced and sang while they played and showed why the band was a very good closing act on the night.
On the opposite end of the scale, opening act, the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) brought Kay Allyene, guitarist Dean Williams and saxophonist Tony Paul as guest artistes.
The band started off with Morning Dance in which Paul was the lead followed by Ashley (Len “Boogsie”Sharpe). Alleyne got into the performance with her rendition of Summer Time with Paul and Kareem Brown as soloists. She continued with Feeling Good.
Guitarist Dean Williams was introduced as the NSSO started Breezing and he thrilled the audience with his deft fret works. Hotel California came next, after which the band went local with a beautiful rendition of Kitchener’s Pan Night and Day, Merchant’s Be Careful and Ultimate Rejects’ Full Extreme.
Up next was the nine-member, award-winning Codrington Pan Family, a very tight unit, and it shows in their performances. They started off with Cary (daddy) playing Summer Time before moving into Kitchener’s Pan Night and Day. This version was totally different from NSSO’s and the audience showed its appreciation. Their percussive version of Riddim Vybz which involved only the female players was also very impressive. The Codrington Pan Family continued with Georgia and ended with Kitchener’s Pan in Harmony.
Musical director Keisha Codrington arranged the songs with that touch of jazz which kept the audience on the edge.
Another musical family, Moore’s Music from San Fernando, followed but had problems getting to the concert and arrived late. They performed songs like Mas Que Nada, People Make the World go Round, I wish, Red Red Wine and Year for Love.
It was truly a great night for music.