The audience had a taste of GiGi who had four wardrobe changes for the show. (Pictures by Amery Butcher.)
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JANUARY HAS TRADITIONALLY been known as jazz month in Barbados, and even though there hasn’t been a jazz festival in roughly half a decade, those who attended Honey Jazz last Saturday will tell you that the genre is alive and well here.
Fresh off the heels of the widely successful Naniki Music Festival, Ebonnie Rowe and the ladies of Honey Jazz, consisting of Honey Jam alumni and a few special guests, wowed a packed Frank Collymore Hall with a mixture of jazz classics and modern rearrangements.
The sold out audience was treated to performances by 14 ladies at varying levels of development, and all with amazing talent, including Rhesa Garnes, Faith Callender, Tionne Hernandez, Rhea Layne, Leashia Browne and Christina Dottin.
With any show of this nature, there were a few standout performances. Former Richard Stoute Teen Talent and Digicel Rising Stars contestant Britney Meyers delivered a tear-inducing rendition of My Funny Valentine that had audience members clapping throughout her performance.
Jai Josee blew away any doubt that big girls can be sexy and sultry with her jazzified rendition of Meghan Trainor’s popular song All About The Bass.
Debbie Reifer set herself apart with an emotional performance of Ella Fitzgerald’s Russian Lullaby, and Damian Marley’s Road To Zion, which samples the aforementioned song.
And guest performers Kellie Cadogan and Lana Kirton-Boyce gave a masterclass in stage performance. Cadogan’s performance of Alicia Key’s 2002 hit How Come You Don't Call Me was no doubt an example of why she is one of the island’s premiere vocal coaches. The lady has amazing range. However, it was also an example of exemplar showmanship. She displayed talent that would be comfortably fitting on any Broadway stage. Similarly, hotel circuit veteran Kirton-Boyce freely engaged the audience in a way that didn’t feel forced or staged. Her free-spirited, bubbly personality allowed you to almost forget where you were for a moment.
But for many, the highlight of the night was Heather Small. The English soul singer, best known for being the lead singer of the band M People, dazzled the stage as she performed a bevy of her hits, including the song Proud, which was used as the official song for the London Olympics bid.
Honey Jazz is primarily a fundraising event for its sister show and developmental programme, Honey Jam. The 2015 event marks its third year running.