More students, amateur and semi-professionals musicians to benefit

SAINT LUCIA (May 03, 2012)- The local music community comprising school based students of music together with amateur and semi-professional musicians, are again in line to benefit from a series of celebrity master classes and music workshops. The training, which allows budding artistes to hone their skills, is seldom discernible as a significant spinoff benefit of Saint Lucia Jazz.

Among the hundreds who have benefited over the years are rising stars in jazz and mainstream music genres from Saint Lucia such as Alison Marquis, Richard Payne, Barbara Cadet and Rob 'Zi' Taylor, along with a legion of players from various professional resident orchestras; all of whom have drawn from the experience of those renowned masters who tutor the classes.

Many of the beneficiaries in later years have also shared the Pigeon Island main stage spotlight. Multiple recording artiste Ronald "Boo" Hinkson traces the genesis of his enduring friendship with George Benson back to Saint Lucia Jazz and an early opportunity he had to play main stage alongside Benson.

Since the inaugural year of Saint Lucia Jazz in 1992, the National Cultural Centre has been the venue of the Jazz Students Workshop targeting primarily secondary school students and those enrolled at the Saint Lucia School of Music. Students and professional musicians have over the past two decades, had the benefit of receiving instructions from award winning virtuosos. Among them are critically acclaimed trumpeter, composer, bandleader and educator Wynton Marsalis, Thelonious Monk Jr. (Drums) and Bobby Watson (Saxophone) from the Thelonius Monk Institute; David Sandborn (Saxophone) and Eric Ildefonse (Piano), most of whom are cited as influencers by accomplished musical composers and performers like Saint Lucian Augustin "Jab" Duplesis, who has exploited the opportunity to garner knowledge and technique from these master classes.

This year, a fresh batch of enthusiastic students keenly anticipate the student's workshop scheduled for Friday May 11th, 2012 that will be facilitated by Andy Narell, renowned the world over as a pannist. Narrel, who last year facilitated workshops under the South Jazz initiative – the Laborie Steel Pan Project, will visit secondary schools and host workshops with the steelband orchestras of at least four schools.

Louis Lewis, Saint Lucia's Director of Tourism believes that the hosting of Saint Lucia Jazz has been an enabler of the aims of the Saint Lucia School of Music, and has added a valuable dynamic to the local music industry, by heightening the sense of tangibility of the international industry on the local front.

"I also believe that for an impressionable mind, such a close and memorable encounter with world title holders is tremendous in that it allows these youngsters to redefine their borders and set their sights further. In other words, if I can touch a Marsalis, I can be a Marsalis. In these encounters a dream turns to resolve and ability ignites ambition," said Lewis.

In 2012, to meaningfully commemorate its 21st year, Saint Lucia Jazz is refocusing on this small but critical customer, by bringing back the master class with Joshua Redman who will host a Saxophone master class at the Cultural Centre on May 10th, 2012.

Generally regarded as "one of the most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the decade of the 1990s", Redman will draw Sax professionals like moths to the flame. His early influences, as the apostles of their day (John Coltrane, Coleman, Adderley and Redman's own father Dewey Redman) are legends whose work have inspired many present-day saxophonists.

In the South, Jazz partners Labowi Promotions have begun offering several master classes and workshops between May 1 and 6, including one master class with Dominican UK-based guitarist Cameron Pierre at the Saint Lucia School of Music. Commonly regarded as 'a respected staple on the UK Jazz scene Cameron Pierre is hailed a composer, producer, arranger and teacher, and one of the best guitarists to emerge out of the UK.

Director Lewis expressed gratification at the returned focus on this aspect of the festival, which has the potential to translate into long-term value for local musicians. He proposes that the effects of these opportunities will likely be evident in Saint Lucia's music industry trends in the long term – especially on the export side.

For more information on the full line-up for Saint Lucia Jazz 2012 along with show dates, venues and ticket sales, log onto www.stluciajazz.org.