You are here:Home>Concert Reviews>Jazz at Farley Hill in Barbados

Jazz at Farley Hill in Barbados

Barbados Jazz Festival 2007 Barbados Jazz Festival 2007 Harry S. Pariser
The Barbados Jazz Festival is a very special event. Attended largely by locals and returning Bajans (as Barbadians call themselves), along with a smattering of Americans and resident expats, the festival takes place in several halls (which host evening performances) as well as in Farley Hill National Park in the island’s north where two outdoor afternoon concerts take place. Despite the "jazz" in the name, the festival hosts mainly pop and jazz-fusion artists because that’s what, from the producer’s perspective, commands the most local appeal.

Farley Hill itself is the site of a mansion of the same name which was destroyed by fire some years back. The greathouse (plantation house) entrance, standing 900 ft. (275 m) above sea level, was once lined with towering cabbage palms. A side mahogany staircase led upstairs to the bedrooms. Distinguished visitors over the years included Prince Alfred, The Duke of Edinborough (in 1861), Prince Albert Victor, and Prince George (later King George V). In 1956 the house was camouflaged almost unrecognizably for its incognito role as the mansion, "Belle Fontaine," in the 20th Century Fox production of the classic flick, An Island in the Sun. The coral gates in front of the ruin were brought in during the film’s production. The views from the sides of the hill - of the rugged Scotland District and the coast - are majestic and awe inspiring.

The outdoor concert segment of the 2007 Barbados Jazz Festival took place here on a January weekend. First up on Saturday was 31-year-old virtuoso trumpeter Yasek Manzano. Born in Cuba in 1976, Yasek has studied at the Havana School of Arts and Music and at the Juliard School of Music. Currently residing in New York City, he regularly performs with the Boston-based neo-salsa band Kilombo. Performing classics such as "Night in Tunisia" and "Besame Mucho," he laid down some amazing scat singing.

Barbados was represented by the dapper dreadlocked reggae-jazz saxophonist Arturo Tappin. gave an accompished performance. The day’s local star was reggae-jazz fusion saxophonist Arturo Tappin. Tappin, who has performed with the likes of Roberta Flack and Roy Haynes,who held forth with a number of melodic tunes and stunningly long tenor lines. His 14-member band including two leyboard players, three backup singers, five horns, bass, congas, and drums. Local singer Rhea made an appearance on "Redemption Song."

Jazz-fusion bass player Stanley Clarke took the stage next and gave a powerful, loud set which featured a crew of international perfomers including an Israeli keyboard player, violinist from Denmark, and keyboardist Phil Davis. Clarke came into fame through his membership in pianist Chick Corea’s groundbreaking electric group Return to Forever My favorite number was his acoustic bass solo.

Last but not least was Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. After co-founding legendary salsa-fusion band Irakere, Sandoval struck out on his own and then emigrated to the United States at the age of 40 where he gained great success and also became one of Fidel Castro’s most outspoken critics. Holding forth on trumpet, keyboard, and timbales, Sandoval led his group through some hot, rollicking salsa and Latin jazz which brought the afternoon’s concert to a steaming conclusion.

For more information about Barbados, read the travel guidebook "Explore Barbados" by Harry S. Pariser.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Barbados Jazz Festival 2007
  • Concert Date: 1/1/2007
  • Subtitle: Sandova, Tappin, Clarke shine
  • Venue: Farley Hill
  • City State Country: Barbados
Login to post comments