Steelpan Jazz At New York's
Lincoln Center - R. Pope
Last year New York was the
host to a highly successful, major Father's Day
steelpan jazz show at Lincoln Center. The show was
produced by Abstract Entertainment, Inc. (AEI) and anchored by such
notables as Lenny Green of the popular New York mega station 98.7
Kiss FM, Jazz staple WBGO 88.3 FM, Macy's, Budweiser and other
prominent sponsors. AEI embarked on a marketing and business
strategy that has carved out and identified a lucrative untapped
market in addition to showcasing the global popularity and musical
performance versatility of the instrument .
high-level musical performances by the artists and near capacity
crowd were fantastic. The upscale, sophisticated audience reflected
the diverse changing economic, social and cultural landscape of New
York city's population and age. One of the great successes of the
show was the ability of AEI to attract an audience to Alice
Tully Hall and the Jazz genre that Lincoln Center does not have
access to under its current marketing and advertising strategies.
This Father's Day New
York will again be the host for a major steelpan music production as
Steelpan Music Festival will be held at the world famous Madison
Square Garden. The event is expected to be very successful and
Pan Trinbago gets to execute a major production in a large market.
Indeed the expectations are very high.
New York Pan (Big Bands)
Rather than waste anytime on
the entities and things that plague the forward progress of NY
steelpan movement we will focus on what's going right. If you must
know what is wrong just visit our past reviews below. It's the same old
same-o - as the mindless, bumbling, no-can-do, selfish, ignorant,
self-promoting, no talent bums are still around creating havoc. Simply put, if they left tomorrow we would not miss them and NY pan
would get better simply by their subtraction from the scene.
On the other hand there are those who thanklessly and
anonymously continue to nurture the movement through their blood,
sweat and tears behind the scenes. And to them we will be
New York pan - intelligent, young, talented, vibrant and forward-thinking
- remains the most awesome steelpan music scene outside of
Trinidad. While it has failed miserably at realizing its potential, it
continues to thrive in an ever-increasing hostile environment. Like
the pan instrument, its existence (New York Pan) is
simultaneously illogical and
The groups continue to grow in
size as the major bands can easily field 90 to 100 players for
panorama. Even the once smaller groups have gotten quite large
in size as their popularity and performance skills rise.
The face of NY pan is changing
The young people understand how to market
themselves - as a few of the groups have their own website, and offer
their recordings as a source of generating additional income.
This internet savvy has connected them to the global steelpan
community - a real and tangible way that has generated opportunities.
They are indeed up to the challenge of taking NY pan to a new level.
Many in the NY pan community
have serious career aspirations that are related to the steelpan
and in fact, there are those that are determined to earn
their livelihoods - solely by the instrument, and have made steps in
that direction. Many of the bands have their home-grown
virtuosos, who are now about to enter/graduate college, or are in some
professional relationship with the instrument as a instructor,
arranger, writer or manufacturer of the instruments. They are
determined to avoid the pitfalls and frustration of past NY talents who
have traveled this path.
Of course there are the
countless others who come out seasonally just for the joy of playing
pan and making beautiful music.
Some folks to look out for - -Monster arranging and performance talent and ability in
the new guard...
Sheldon Elcock, Qhuent Rose, Arddin Herbert, Freddie Harris, III, Andy Akiho,
Kareem Thompson, Sherwin Thwaite, Knolly 'Nikki' Nicholas, Iman Pascall, Keith Roberts,
Curt Rogers, Orisha John, Jelanie Fernando, Lyndon Spencer, Collin Jackman, Nicholas
Constantine, Andre White, among many many others.
In a nutshell, the reigning NY associations have not done anything of
significance since 2001 when the initial USSA regime rocked the pan
world and showed so much promise and potential. The current
associations have been living off the fumes of that original
group/incarnation ever since, and is nothing more than a single-event operation
(panorama). Until they can negotiate prize monies that total
over 1 million dollars (which pales in comparison, considering what the bands
themselves put out financially, and also, the many, many millions (over 100 million
dollars conservatively reported) that the city recoups - these
associations cannot ever be taken seriously at that.
associations have yet to define themselves as unions/players' associations, promoters and/or executive
producers, but they cannot be all three. These groups in
particular should only be allowed to wear one hat, if the New York
steelband community is to benefit and be fairly represented. Let's see if
- just for starters - they can get the city to let the bands
practice this summer without interruption and harassment, and
certainly past the rumored but ridiculous shut-down time of 11:00 PM
nightly - no exceptions.
The steelpan instrument is
growing in popularity within the public school system. From
college to K-12 there has been an explosion in interest in the
instrument, and it is rapidly being added to curricula. New York is looking very good in this department.
Sometimes they are their own worst enemy. However they
have managed, and continue, to navigate through unknown territory without a
friend, blueprint, map or manual in an extremely, ever-increasing
hostile environment. It is only through their extreme
sacrifice and love for the steelpan instrument and culture that
these steel orchestras have continued to exist.
New York Pan -- ADLIB, Harlem All Stars, Pan Rebels, Moods Pan
Groove, Metro, CASYM, Pantonic, Sonatas, Despers USA, Marsicans,
Utopia Pan Soul: The Next Generation, Women In Steel, Harmony, CYP, Dem Stars, D'Radoes,
Crossfire, Pan Phonics, Ambassadors, NY Nutones, Sesame Flyers,
Steel Sensation, Calvary Steel and more.
New York Pan - much more than just panorama...