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Jazz Back In Harlem - A Steelpan Affair
The Garvin Blake Quintet at the Uptown Renaissance Restaurant
In Review

           Date: 05.01.05

Harlem, New York -

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In the stomping grounds of where just one name of the jazz greats are needed - i.e. Bird, Max, Miles, Coltrane, Dizzy, Basie and Duke among others - Garvin Blake and his quintet brought us back to an era when jazz and blues reigned supreme uptown, in Harlem.   The group is also known as the Garvin Blake Ensemble, and Garvin Blake and Friends.  The much-anticipated gig has been the buzz of the town the last few days as NYC jazz fans scurried to get advance tickets to the show.

Sunday's Pan Jazz event at the restaurant was completely sold-out.   The Uptown crowd at the Renaissance Restaurant was not disappointed.  Garvin Blake and his complement of stellar musicians (Frankie McIntosh, Damon Duewhite, Calvin Jones and Tony Cedras) in their own right, moved with the spirit of the great ones as they treated the audience to a jazz music performance that was befitting of the historical musical significance of  hallowed Harlem ground they were on...  This capacity crowd was treated to a special moment.

Jazz is America's only indigenous musical art form, needless to say, is sacred in Harlem, New York.  Indeed, some of the greatest music works and moments the world has ever known, have occurred here.  Blake and his crew gave us another that will join those.

Blake and his accompanying cast continue to break new and unexplored territory as they add their twist to the music of the great ones, with the relatively new and seductive voice of the steelpan.  Blake's mastery of the instrument in addition to his understanding and unique sensibility to the jazz idiom, brings a fresh voice and perspective to these jazz/world-music fusion.  Indeed the percussive, harmonic and rhythmic interplay among Blake, Duewhite, Cedras, Jones and McIntosh is  astounding, allowing for new colors and stories not before ever heard.  Each musician in addition to obviously enjoying himself, makes profound musical statements as only great musicians can deliver when inspired and called upon.

Whenever you mix a Frankie McIntosh - one of the greatest musical minds and keyboard players out of the Caribbean - with masters like Damon Duewhite on drums, Calvin Jones on bass and Tony Cedras (this time around on accordion), there is going to be magic.

Blake has found his voice and told his story through his steelpan instrument (double seconds) as so many other past great musicians have, on many a night uptown in Harlem, New York.

Contact the Uptown Renaissance Restaurant at 1(212) 280-2224 

Contact the Garvin Blake Ensemble at: blake350@msn.com

 Basement Press Corp.
2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

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