Mavis John to perform with Élan Parlé at Kafe Blue

Mavis John -
Mavis John -

VETERAN vocalist Mavis John will be one of the special guests featured with Caribbean jazz group Élan Parlé at Anthony’s Cari-Jazz @Kafe Blue this Thursday.

Following their debut in 2000, the group, under the leadership of Michael Low Chew Tung, better known as “Ming,” has played at festivals and concerts throughout the Caribbean. Élan Parle recently released its ninth album, 47 on Strand Capetown.

“(The) band is poised for an exciting evening of music spanning their diverse musical catalogue,” a release said.

A “surprise guest” for the night will be Queen of Kaiso Jazz Mavis John.

“Mavis is a diverse artiste who has performed all over the world. A very humble artiste, she continues to make her country proud wherever she performs, while her song Use My Body has over five million streams on Spotify.”

In a phone interview with Newsday, John said she had been going to “vibes” in the studio with Ming and doing music, “as musicians and singers tend to do.” He contacted her a couple of weeks ago about performing at the show and she agreed.

“I feel honoured I could be there to share a space with him. We travelled quite a lot and did a bit of work outside. If there was anybody to perform with, it would be Ming.”

John’s last onstage performance was at Dimanche Gras 2023, through artistic director Davlin Thomas. She reported that people have been asking her constantly to go onstage and the upcoming show at Kafe Blue “may be a start.”

Asked if she wanted to perform more regularly, John replied, “Yes and no.

“I want to be certain pipes are ready to work the way they are supposed to. All my life I have had problems with my voice. I don’t want to be put in a place that I don’t want to be. I have to see how it coming.”

John has also had a successful theatre career and has performed in productions such as Derek Walcott’s Marie La Veau, Elliot Bastien’s A Nancy Story and Earl Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance. She said she may return to the theatre specifically for musicals.

“If it comes up, it does.”

Asked about her performance at Kafe Blue, John said the set was a surprise, but she did divulge she would be performing her usual warm-up song, Jazz in the Callaloo.

“It is part of my DNA onstage.”

John’s distinctive voice lends itself easily to blues, jazz and soul. Singing since the 60s, she has shared the stage with both international and local legends and continues to amaze audiences with her dynamic range and engaging presence.

Thursday’s show will feature another guest, guitarist/bassist Aaron Low Chew Tung, Ming’s brother. He attended the University of TT and was part of the first year of bachelor of performing arts graduates. His versatile repertoire spans rock, jazz, classical and pop genres. Aaron is a frequent session musician and a member of multiple bands: Seabath, Fishbowl and Fighting with Noise.

Anthony’s Cari-Jazz is a private non-profit Caribbean jazz-music promotion company that hosts a nine-month jazz concert series featuring popular local jazz artistes, invited musicians and university music students.

Part proceeds from Anthony’s Cari-Jazz @Kafe Blue will go to support the annual ACJ Student Award programme, which provides a bursary of $10,000 to tertiary music students or graduates within a year of graduation.

Admission to Kafe Blue, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, is $200 at the door and showtime is 8 pm.

For more info: 477-2262 or 313-3212.


"Mavis John to perform with Élan Parlé at Kafe Blue"

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