By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff
Despite intermittent rainfall, patrons stayed at Tortola Pier Park on Saturday night to soak up two spectacular performances packed into about three hours, ending close to dawn on Sunday.
Dean Fraser out of Jamaica exuded decades of experience from the moment he emerged on stage at roughly 1am, lipped the mouthpiece of his saxophone, and released the first of many soulful and melodious notes.
Under his musical spell, patrons danced and voluntarily added lyrics to instrumentals such as that accompanying Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
A number of women directly in front the stage took the reception a bit further with screams and short races. “This is how you play saxophone; hear how it clear?” one of them told a man who nodded in approval.
While Dean Fraser blew several hits into the chilly nocturnal atmosphere, he took a break every now and then to facilitate individual appearances by two of Jamaica’s most revered vocalists – Karen Smith and Alaine.
Smith had patrons singing and dancing – often among raindrops, as her vocals soared with hits pulled from different genres including Soul, Jazz, and Classical. She spectacularly covered songs such as Fever that was originally done by Little Willie John, as well as At Last originally done by Etta James.
Patrons eventually were left clamouring for more of Karen Smith, but, with time flying quickly, Alaine graced the stage and did not disappoint. Her energetic performance comprised mainly originals such as No Ordinary Love, which she belted out while she fingered a keyboard placed at centre-stage.
Dean Fraser later returned to the stage with his woodwind instrument to blow his final notes.
“The BVI is cris (good) as usual,” he told BVI News Online while he acknowledged that ‘hiccups’ regarding travel prevented him from performing as scheduled on the previous night at the Jazz and Style Festival.
The veteran saxophonist, who was accompanied by other instrumentalists, further said: “The people of the BVI are the best; they are very receptive and encouraging. Clearly, they love good music.”
There was more good music in the offing. Following a band change, Morgan Heritage upped the tempo with a plethora of Reggae hits.
Patrons seemed highly receptive as the group of Jamaicans belted out songs such as Down By The River, Don’t Haffi Dread, and She’s Still Loving Me.
Meanwhile, prior to the performances by Morgan Heritage, as well as Dean Fraser and company, fans were warmed by trumpeter extraordinaire Etienne Charles who hails from Trinidad and Tobago.
There were also impressive performances from local artistes and groups including Dalan Vanterpool, Kamau Georges, HLSCC Stingray Singers, and Calden James who indeed was a standout.
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