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Monday 20 May 2019
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Newsday Tobago

Sweet Jazz this weekend

R&B legend Toni Braxton
R&B legend Toni Braxton

THE Tobago Jazz Experience's headliners will be on show this weekend with a reggae flavour tomorrow in Speyside, followed by Sunday's grand international night finale. The Jazz Experience is running from April 25-28 with three nights of music from different genres.

On Thursday, the action kickstarted with Jazz on the Waterfront at the Milford Road Esplanade, which featured artistes such as Caleb Hart, LeAndra and Sharlan Bailey.

On Saturday, the action shifts to the Speyside Recreational Grounds for Jazz in the East, which includes Jamaican artistes such as dancehall star Busy Signal and singer Marcia Llyneth Griffiths, known primarily for her strong, smooth-as-mousse love songs and captivating live performances, as well as reggae singer Duane Stephenson, who works primarily in the roots reggae genre.

On Sunday, the focus will undoubtedly shift to the sev­en-time Gram­my Award win­ner, American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, actress, television personality and philanthropist Toni Brax­ton, who will bring the curtain down at the International Night at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park. Fans are looking forward to Braxton’s hits such as Un-Break my heart, Let It Flow, He Wasn’t Man Enough, Long as I Live and Yesterday.

Other artistes scheduled to perform on Sunday are American pop rock icon Michael Bolton. Also performing is American R&B singer and songwriter from Atlanta Georgia Rodriquez Jacquees Broadnax, better known as Jacquees, and local jazz vo­calist Vaugh­nette Big­ford

Trini Bigford excited to be back

Trinidadian Bigford will be making her return to Jazz and is excited to be back as a more accomplished artiste.

Since her debut in 2004, the Trini entertainer’s rich, earthy jazz vocals have been making audiences sit up and take notice. Her professional entry onto the jazz circuit came at the 2004 Steelpan & Jazz Festival (formerly Pan Royale) as guest vocalist with Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and Phase II Pan Groove.

Eight years later, Bigford made her first appearance on the Jazz Experience stage alongside Theron Shaw.

“I am very excited. I love Tobago and the energy around the Jazz Experience. I performed there in 2012, so it isn’t my first time on stage, but the first time leading my own band,” she told Newsday in an interview on Wednesday.

Recognising her talent as a gift from God, she is determined to fulfil the destiny she feels He has ordained for her. She is constantly fine-tuning her craft, and embracing every opportunity to share that liquid, golden voice with others.

“All exposure is good, and I hope that we get to showcase the music to a wider audience. People know my sets to be varied and full of energy, so it will be no different on Sunday. We also get to play some real classics for you as well,” she said.

Although sharing the stage with two musical icons, Bigford said, “To be honest, I hardly ever get starstruck. I love both artistes (Braxton and Bolton) immensely, so I look forward to hearing them more than anything.”

Other entertainers scheduled to grace the stage on Sunday are Jacques, Cannon Jack, Tobago All Star Band, and Despers Steel Orchestra.

A to­tal of $12 mil­lion was bud­get­ed for this year’s event, as compared to the 2018 bud­get of $7.3 mil­lion. The to­tal rev­enue from tick­et sales for the 2018 To­ba­go Jazz Ex­pe­ri­ence was $1,668,600.

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