Chancellor's Week ends on high note

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Thursday, August 02, 2018

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IT was a fitting end to Chancellor's Week at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After a week of events and activities, on Sunday Barbadian saxman Arturo Tappin not only closed the curtains, but blew the house down.

Billed as the headliner, Tappin was more than able to maintain the standard set my openers Peter Ashbourne, Marjorie Whylie and jazz chanteuse Dr Myrna Hague Bradshaw.

The first indication of what was to come should have been when Tappin stated: “The quicker you find out that your chairs are your enemy, the better”, as from the onset he encouraged patrons seated under the huge tent on the grassy lawns to get up and jam to his musical offerings. His set, a smorgasbord of musical genres, had something for everyone.

For openers, Tappin dropped his take on the jazz classic Mack The Knife, then switching to Stevie Wonder's I Wish to jump-start the dance floor. He delivered Bruno Mars' Treasure and Earth Wind and Fire's September, before switching the tempo to the smoother, reggae-infused version of You Make Me Feel Brand New by The Stylistics, and that was just half his set.

A lively Beguine tune from the French West Indies; Toots' Pressure Drop; a spirited version of Just The Way You Are, dedicated to his aunt Senator Donna Scott Mottley, were all well received. The audience gave Tappin more love when he invited Hague back on stage for a thrilling version of Marley's Waiting In Vain. Her classy vocals and his mix of tender and explosive musical styling made this a treat for the ears. The dancefloor beckoned many as he dropped popular soca tracks before winding down his set, leaving everyone contented.

Earlier in the evening, it was three-tracks-a-piece from Ashbourne and Whylie.

Ashbourne offered his take on violin of Lullaby for Birdland and his composition Open Ralph, which he explained was written as an introduction for American-Jamaican actress Sheryl Lee Ralph. His final piece was Armando's Rhumba — a tribute to American jazz artiste Chick Corea. Whylie offered her compositions — Invitation, River of Peace and Creole Dance.

Hague went into her love music catalogue to deliver of classic performance. With her voice reverberating across the gardens, she offered Call Me, Falling In Love With You, Stormy Weather, Days of Wine and Roses, Who Can I Turn To, before turning to bossa nova for Jobim's It's Over to culminate her set.

All the performers were backed by Desi Jones and Friends, with the master drummer serving as musical director.

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