American X Factor contestant Lillie McCloud scatting with saxist Arturo Tappin at Christmas Jazz at the Plantation. Below left: Arturo Tappin and Grammy award winner Maurice Brown on trumpet. Right: Andre Daniel on keyboards. (Pictures by Shaka Mayers)
IF YOU MISSED Christmas Jazz last night at the Plantation Garden Theatre, then tonight it will be the same highly charged evening.
With a merry band of 13 musicians – all local lads led by Arturo Tappin – it was marvellous talent on display. What stood out were the musical duels between some of the band members that excited the audience to a frenzy.
The band was in full steam throughout the night and they brought everything, including the kitchen sink, with their selections.
Over two weeks-worth of rehearsals that Tappin said was like a day job (from 9-5), they thrilled with instrumentals of Christmas favourites like Angels We Have Heard On High and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
Then they were joined by Lillie McCloud (can’t believe she is 54) who seems to have the personas of Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight combined.
With three wardrobe changes, she brought the favourite Christmas Shoes, then Last Christmas to end the show with her own after party, moving into the audience to sing Pharrell’s Happy, and Stevie Wonder’s I Wish.
In her scatting with Tappin she had the upper hand until Tappin drew on his secret weapon – the Crop Over hit Ben Up, that had McCloud stumped as she remarked, “I don’t know what you are saying”, drawing raucous laughter from the audience.
Grammy award winner Lalah Hathaway was more subdued, but that didn’t take away from her performance. Her smooth, sultry voice went deep then high, thrilling the crowd with This Christmas and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).
Trumpeter Maurice Brown had his time on stage, going toe to toe with Tappin; and did the unexpected Ah Feeling, somewhat slowed down, but still sounding sweet.
Special mention must be made of the young musicians out of the Barbados Community College music programme who shared the stage with the older musicians and held their own. (NS)