Lincoln Center, known for its culturally diverse performances, played host to the debut of a steel pan and jazz collaboration at Alice Tully Hall. The steel pan is the only instrument to be invented in the 20th century. Each style gives voice to the struggle and the unique experience of African descendants.
It may have been Father’s Day, but the ladies were treated to sexy saxophonist Arturo Tappin. Tappin had women of all ages dancing in their seats. “Tappin looks good and can really blow,” said steel pan fan, Elvia Darkins. His partner in music, Liam Teague, amazed the audience with his steadfast hands and piano-like rhythms on the steel pan. My father, Enrique Morris, was so entertained; he wanted to buy their CD that night.
The uptempo rhythm of jazz notables Onaje Gumbs on piano, Buddy Williams on drums, Trinidad native Tony “Bugs” Niles on percussion and a host of other musicians, were an excellent match to the steel pan sound.
On double tenor steel pan was Andy Narell silencing the audience with a soothing melody called‘Laventille’. “The sounds from the steel pan (Narell) is unbelievable, similar to the piano (Dario Eskenazi)” said jazz fan Dominique Morris. The delicate touch of the chime by percussionist Roland Guerrero was a sweet contrast to Mark Walker’s drum solo. Their abrupt ending stirred up the excited audience to call for an encore with whistles and applause.
The Garvin Blake Ensemble was also on board. Their musical selection included accordion infused‘Caravan’ played by Tony Cedras and ‘Ah Fraid’. The audience, composed in part of the multiple Caribbean nationalities, was lured back to their childhood with the folk tune ‘Every Time Ah Pass.’ Their performance roused the audience to a standing ovation.
As the stage was being set up for the next performance, master of ceremonies Lenny Green of New York’s 98.7 Kiss FM stressed the importance of knowing your history. He also congratulated fathers on their special day and the mothers who play dual roles.
Sunday’s performance, also referred to as ‘An Acoustic Revolution’, was produced by Abstract Entertainment, Inc. one of the rising producers of high-level world music.
It is only fitting that Abstract Entertainment also acknowledged musicians who have made amazing contributions to their art forms. Such is steel pan legend Emmanuel “Jack” Riley, who was awarded theLifetime Achievement Award. Riley is known for his great improvisational skills and the mastery of making steel pans. Jazz legend Max Roach received the Visionary Award. Roach is one of the first people to recognize the value of steel pan and infuse the instruments melodic sounds with his group, M’Boom.
The night was dedicated to steel pan great Rudolph King who passed away earlier this year.
It was a monumental night for steel pan and jazz. In a world where some cultures have been forgotten and others become mainstream, pan has kept its integrity while showcasing its beauty to the world.
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