January 22 - 24, 2009 will see Rose Hall, Montego Bay come alive with the JAMAIACA Jazz and Blues Festival which is gearing up to be even more electrifying than in previous years.
The Festival, which has hosted acts such as George Benson, Erika Badu, Kenny G, Dionne Warwick, Michael Bolton, Kenny Rogers, Shaggy, Third World and a host of other top-class local and international performers, is expected to live up to its reputation of being the premier event on the Caribbean's entertainment calendar. London's effervescent and multi-talented new artiste, Estelle; Grammy Award-winning star Lionel Richie; and hit-makers Atlantic Starr are just some of the acts which will grace the stage at the 2009 Festival.
The new branding of the event as the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival was endorsed by the Jamaica Tourist Board, which now assumes the Title sponsorship of the festival. The change has given the Jamaica brand prime placement, a move which is expected to aid in positioning Jamaica as a premier event destination. Air Jamaica, original owner and promoter of the festival, remains committed to its partnership with the event, and will be the presenting sponsor for 2009.
Turn-Key Productions, the current promoter and producer of the festival, is happy with the name change. Walter Elmore, President of Turn-Key Productions remarked, " we are excited about the name change as it reflect the confidence that the Jamaica Tourist Board has placed in us to stage a world class event which is worthy to be associated with the brand JAMAICA."
A key feature on the line up will be the chart-topping O'Jays, whose I Love Music and Living for the Weekend seem ageless. The O'Jays celebrates 50 years as a performing group in 2009 and this anniversary debut in Jamaica promises to be spectacular. The group will also use their performance at the event to produce an anniversary DVD. Also included in the lyrical mix is Maxi Priest, known for such songs as, Close to You, Some Guys Have All the Luck and 1996 hit, That Girl featuring Shaggy. Maxi will use his performance at the festival to launch his new album which will hit the streets in 2009.
Vocalist Randy Crawford, accompanied by pianist Joe Sample, is also expected to be a hit with the audience. The two have had a long history starting with the 1979 classic Streetlife recorded with R&B veterans, Crusaders, of which Joe was a member. More recently the magical combination has again struck gold with the single Feeling Good, released in 2007. Randy has also worked with both Eric Clapton and David Sanborn to release the hit Knocking on Heaven's Door and has produced other well known hits such as Give Peace a Chance.
Alto Reed, renown saxophonist of rocker Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band, will perform alongside several other legendary musicians as Alto Reed and the Blues Entourage. The combined musical talent of the group is without question and they are expected to excite the crowd with an amazing performance. Lou Gramm, former lead singer of the group Foreigner, and known for hits such as, Midnight Blue, I want to know what love is, I Don't Want to Live Without You and Say You Will will also add his musical flair to the 2009 event. The 14-year-old Canadian sensation, Nikki Yanofsky who thrilled the crowd gathered at the Aqueduct on Rose Hall at the 2007 staging of the Festival, and who is now a top-selling recording artiste in Canada, promises to once again deliver a sizzling set at the upcoming event.
The Festival, well known for its tradition of presenting a creative mix of musical genre on its worlds-class stage, will also feature the Cuban band, Los Van Van, whose music is a fusion of rock, funk, hip-hop, disco and Afro-Cuban sound.
There is no doubt that Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2009 will deliver all that is expected and more. The 40,000 plus patrons which attend the event over the three-day period is made up not only of Jamaicans, but also includes a wide range of visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. With the increased attention that is being paid in promoting the 2009 Festival internationally, it is expected that the number of visitors to the 2009 event will increase, a fact which the JTB feels will greatly assist in filling the 4,000 new rooms which will be available between the Montego Bay and Negril areas by January.
The 2009 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival presented by Air Jamaica will be staged at the historic Aqueduct in Montego Bay from Thursday, January 22 to Saturday, January 24.