THE WeJazz event, a part of the WeBeat St James Live calendar, began at the Harvard Club in St James some 20 minutes late with just a handful of patrons, which was unfortunate given the wealth of talent scheduled to perform.
Nevertheless, A Royal Pan Ensemble, comprising past and present students of Queen’s Royal College, earned appreciative applause for Blue Bossa, Isn’t She Lovely, Take Five, Mr Day and Breakout.
Jennly Williams followed, singing In The Name Of The Lord, You Put a Move On My Heart, One More, Love and Our Love, after which she was politely applauded.
However, the real jazz began when Chantal Esdelle & Moyenne took the stage, giving a fantastic performance of their own music. Moyenne, featuring Douglas Redon on bass, Von Best on drums, Kevin Sobers on pans, Gary Haywood on djembe and Esdelle on keyboard, began with an Esdelle composition, Ogun Chant.
The pulsating drumming from Haywood woke up the audience. The band followed with Redon’s Blues For Sails and Sobers’ Lo Mejor De Mi, both eliciting tumultuous applause from patrons, as did Imbizo Moyenne.
Esdelle then used her vocals for Love Changes before the band closed with Kaiso Kaiso.
Based on the crowd reaction Esdelle and Moyenne delivered exactly what the audience came to hear, sweet contemporary jazz with all solos on point.
Former Divine Echoes vocalist Susan Wallace reverted to the R&B genre and gave the audience Let’s Stay together, Natural, At Last and Sway, before a short intermission was taken.
After the break, saxophonist Terry Dember pleased patrons with Me & Mrs Jones, Mister Magic, Reasons and Here And Now, then Ingrid Sebro entertained the largely mature audience with her singing of So Amazing, The Sweetest Taboo, Fallen and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.
Ace pannist and arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, who together with Clifford Charles on guitar, Richard Joseph on drums and Redon on Bass, excited patrons with Green Dolphin, Watermelon Man, Pata Pata, Blue Bossa, Rose, Caribbean Connection, Besame Mucho and Ta La La. Boogsie’s playing of both the second and guitar pans amazed everyone, thus deeming the performance a fitting end to the show.