Augustin ‘Jab’ Duplessis
Augustin Duplessis, fondly called ‘Jab’ in the musical circles, started his career as a 15 year old junior bandsman in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Band. This was a very distinguished position in the small Caribbean island of St. Lucia as one had to be of good character and have a willingness to learn to be hired for such a post in this very prestigious band of academically trained musicians.
By 1983, now on his way to becoming a serious saxophonist, he had a burning desire for more musical knowledge. ‘Jab’ thus attended master classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston in the Summer, whilst still a member of the Royal St. Lucia Police Band. His quest for knowledge did not end there, as ‘Jab’ in 1989 pursued studies in the repair of woodwind instruments at Five Towns College in Seaford, Long Island, USA. Expertise in the repair of such instruments was not available back home, and ‘Jab’ became one of the most in-demand woodwind repairmen in St. Lucia and the region.
His insatiable appetite for knowledge placed him in the front row at many master classes with such renowned legends as Bobby Watson (Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz), Bob Berg, Wynton Marsalis Band, Jamey Aebersold, Joe Lovano, and veteran saxophonist Lew Tabackin.
As part of the West Indies Jazz Band, Mr. Duplessis toured Europe and the Caribbean for three years. He then founded his ensemble ‘Third Eye’ in 1989, which produced a multi hit CD ‘Awakening’.
He retired from the Police Band in 1993 to pursue his ambitions as a professional musician. ‘Jab’ has been recognized by his country by being awarded Best Performer in the Performing Arts category of the prestigious M&C Fine Arts Awards.
In the mid-nineties, ‘Jab’ with his band ‘Third Eye’, played the Jazz Festival circuit in Saint Lucia, Martinique and England. Duplessis, recognized among the Eastern Caribbean’s foremost saxophonists, was one of the obvious choices for selection to be a member of the Saint Lucia All Star Jazz Ensemble. This band performed main-stage at the 1996 St. Lucia Jazz Festival.
The turn of the Millennium took ‘Jab’ and his band on three successive residencies at the 5 Star Carenage Bay Resort on Canouan Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2003 the 12th St. Lucia Jazz Festival saw ‘Third Eye’, led by this skilled musician, arranger and composer who by this time had expanded his musical prowess by learning to play the clarinet and the flute. On this occasion he included Martinique’s famous Bernard brothers, who had performed alongside famous international groups ‘Four Play’ and ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’.
In 2004, Jab and his band Third Eye took full-time residency at the elite Raffles Resorts where their audiences consisted of rich and famous clientele such as Donald Trump, Bill Gates, The Prince of Saudi Arabia and Leonardo Di Caprio, to name a few. The band opened for legendary acts such as ‘The Stylistics’ and ‘El Divo’’ at the Prince’s Trust Charity Fund Raising Event. ‘Jab’ also performed over a six-week period at the luxurious Raffles Hotel in Dubai and then at a wedding in Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, Canada.
Towards the end of that decade, in 2009, a six-month residency ensued at the newly opened Raffles in Tianjin, China, bringing with it an appearance at Raffles Beijing at the 2010 China Wine and Food Festival and at the American Chamber of Commerce July 4th Celebrations. ‘Jabs’ performances also brought him to Monaco where he entertained the guests at the Birthday party for the owners of a Villa on Canouan Resorts.