Hague sings fest's praises

Observer senior reporter

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Organiser of the Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival Dr Myrna Hague Bradshaw is in great spirits following the 29th staging of the eight-day festival, which ended on Sunday.

Conceptualised by her late husband, trumpeter and band leader Sonny Bradshaw, the festival exposes audiences to emerging and established vocalists and musicians, local and international artistes in the jazz genre, at events spread across the Corporate Area and in its original home Ocho Rios.

“This year was the best in a very long time,” Hague Bradshaw told the Jamaica Observer. “It all went very well from the opening event at FDR Resort in St Ann, to the jam sessions at The Wine Shop and our closing day at Hope Gardens. They all went well. The workshop and seminar at the Mico University College was one of the great things this year. I created a panel of young people from my jazz class at the university and they handled everything. People like Frankie Campbell of Fab 5 and Dean Fraser did presentations and Marjorie Whylie conducted a lecture demonstration on improvisation. We are so pleased with the way things turned out.”

For her, the highlights of the festival included the performance of the all-female trio Indigo — a local group with members performing on trombone, clarinet and piano; newcomer Faith Brown, the Jamaica Big Band whom she said delivered a “new and fresh repertoire” and the Gordo's Ska Band out of Belgium.

Another highlight for her was the presence of Sonny Bradshaw's grand-daughter on electric guitar, making her début on the festival. This year also saw a partnership with the Institute of Jamaica's Jamaica Music Museum to stage one of the events.

Hague Bradshaw cites the concentration of the events in Kingston as one of the factors which contributed to this year's success.

“For the past three years we have been holding more of the events in Kingston while maintaining a presence on the north coast. This has resulted in increased patronage. Hope Gardens has become the home in Kingston for our final day and this year, we had a really good crowd. The casual on-looker may have observed and thought the event was not well attended, but in fact, persons stayed on the sides of the venue to avoid the afternoon sun. Each year we have to challenge ourselves to become more innovative in order to keep the music and the festival going. It's really a test of faith each year and this year worked a little better than previous years,” she said.

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