A primary objective of the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Pan and Jazz Festival (TTSJF) continues to be the showcasing and development of TT’s talented young musicians.
On Friday and Saturday TTSJF will present several of the country’s finest young artistes at the Steel Pan and Jazz Festival at Queen’s Hall, each demonstrating that TT’s musical future is in gifted hands.
Etienne Charles leads a new generation of bandleaders displaying innovative approaches to jazz and traditional Caribbean music genres. The winner of the 2006 National Trumpet Competition in the US, this New York City based jazzman has plied his expressive phrasings at festivals throughout the world.
Described by Allaboutjazz.com as possessing “the fire and spice that emanated from African roots, to the Caribbean and, ultimately, to the womb of jazz, New Orleans,” Charles’ many achievements include writing the arrangements for Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander’s celebrated “Lords Of The West Indies” presentation at NYC’s prestigious Jazz At Lincoln Center. Consistently a TTSJF favourite, Charles and his quintet will perform pieces from his critically lauded CD “Folklore” on Friday.
Also appearing on Friday will be Élan Parlé, led by keyboardist/composer Michael Low Chew Tung, aka Min. Élan Parlé is a Trinidad-based ensemble that effortlessly blends local rhythms with global influences, in a sonic delivery aligned with the meaning of their name: spirited conversations. Since their formation in 2000, Élan Parlé has independently produced/released six CDs and has produced music for other artistes through their company Parlemusik. They have also taken their contemporary jazz interpretations of TT’s musical traditions throughout the Caribbean, including an appearance with Dave Samuels and the Caribbean Jazz Project in the Virgin Islands and a celebrated 2006 set at the TTSJF, opening for Terence Blanchard.
Pianist Chantal Esdelle, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, founded Moyenne in 1998 with pannist Glenford “Kevin” Sobers; shortly thereafter they recruited percussionist Donald Noel and bassist Douglas Redon. On Saturday, the group will deliver their distinctive Caribbean jazz-fusions, incorporating calypso, bossa-nova and Cuban son into compositions described by veteran pannist Earl Rodney as “the African experience in the Americas”. Moyenne will also preview selections from their sophomore CD “Imbizo Moyenne”, a live recording to be released on November 15.
Natasha Joseph began playing pan when she was a 15-year-old student at the Malick Secondary Comprehensive School and before long she was the arranger for the school’s steel orchestra. In September 2010 Joseph, who plays double second pan with Tobago’s Carib Dixieland Steelband and is their stage side arranger, was a special guest performer at Fall Into Jazz: Kim Waters in Concert in Delaware. She also led a music workshop for over 350 students at Delaware’s WT Chipman Middle School. Joseph will assist keyboardist Jeremy Ledbetter and trumpeter Alexis Baró with the First Citizens sponsored Young Musicians Workshops series to be held in various locations throughout Trinidad with an expected 400 participants. “These workshops help young musicians to appreciate jazz by showing them how much fun it is to play,” Joseph observes.