The 27th annual Jamaica Ocho Rios jazz Festival, the longest-running event of its kind, starts May 27 and runs through June 4, with a new Opening Day jazz venue/jazz village in the form of the FDR Hotel and Spa in Runaway Bay, St Ann..
Festival Director Myrna Hague Bradshaw announced the dates and lineup during the launch of the event at New Kingston's Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Thursday evening (April 27).
"We are delighted to be working with FDR hotel for this year's event," she stated. "Not only have they shown a tremendously positive disposition to the event, they have put together a fantastic package, and we look forward to a greatly enhanced event."
Mrs Bradshaw also acknowledged the Moon Palace (Jamaica Grande) resort, also in Ocho Rios and the Somerset Falls attraction in Portland for their respective involvement in the week of activities. She further thanked all the sponsors and partners for their role in keeping the festival alive and for helping to fulfill the vision of founder, the late Sonny Bradshaw, in educating youth through music.
This year marks the return of a Souvenir Publication, the first since 2010, through a partnership with Candlestone Inc.
In addition to the Jamaica Big Band, the line-up this ear includesthe Grand Beat out of Denmark, Project grand Slam out of the US, and an all-girl band out of Italy, la Birette, as well as Jamaican vocalists Tony Gregory, June Lawson and Marjorie Kay. South African jazz legend Lorraine Klaasen - no stranger to Jamaica - is a late addition to the programme, and details of her performance(s) will be publicised shortly.
Following the Opening Day on May 27 at FDR, the events shifts to Kingston harbour the following evening, where the Jazz Cruise, a successful innovation last year, returns, as does the Portland concert, which this year takes place at Somerset Falls, also on May 28.
On that date, the Moon Palace resort will host the first of its free performance sessions, which will continue of Tuesday (May 30) and Friday (June 1). On Tuesday, the Ocho Rios Shopping Centre is the scene for another public interaction, while the Mico University College hosts a Jazz Seminar/Workshop which this year will feature Myrna Hague.
Two evening Jam sessions - no cover charge - will unfold at Kingston's Alibi lounge, which is already building a reputation through its weekly "cocktails and Jazz" series (Wednesdays). The Alibi sessions will be on Wednesday and Friday evening, beginning around 7:00 pm
The big Closing Day (undoubtedly the most popular slot on the Festival) will unfold at Hope Gardens come Sunday June 4, featuring the full line-up of acts.
Tickets for the paid events (Jazz Cruise, Somerset Falls, Closing Day) are available from Derrick Harriott's One Stop and the Music Mart as well as the Jazz Centre, 22 East Kings House Road, Kingston.