The prestigious Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari Legends Award will be presented to Grenada’s best-known composer and arranger James Clarkson on Saturday night at the festival’s opening concert in Mt Cinnamon Garden.
The presentation will be made by Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, Alexandra Otway-Noel who is also the Parliamentary Representative for St. George south constituency.
The Awards ceremony and presentation of the Citation will be a highlight of the Opening Concert of the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari, with performances from Peter ‘Zack’ Bernard, (Grenada/USA) Derek McKeith’s Blues Band, (USA) and Quiet Fire will bring to an end an exciting first night of music.
The Festival continues on Sunday from 5.00 p.m. in the Mt Cinnamon Gardens.
The first Naniki Caribbean Jazz Legends Award was presented in Barbados to Trinidad born and Barbados based pianist Ebe Gilkes for his sterling contribution to the jazz movement in the Eastern Caribbean.
Antigua’s Winston Anthony Bailey received the second Jazz Legends Award for his contribution to jazz and music in general in Antigua
Clarkson, a former Commissioner of Police, who was born in Grenada on April 21,1944, has had a distinguished career in music with early exposure at the age of 12.
He later joined the Royal Grenada Police Band, appeared on stage with his father’s band and by 17 was a member of the Trinidad Defence Force Band as lead arranger and first trumpet player.
Clarkson attended McGill University (USA) and studied conducting and arranging. His list of North American credits includes playing in Canada for Lionel Hampton on tour and in the front band for Miles Davis shows.
He was the first person to record a combination of brass and steelpan and has played with bands from South America, Africa, Europe and North America.
By 23 years of age, Clarkson was the Director of Music of the Royal Grenada Police Band and soon became the arranger for the very successful Republic Bank Angel Harps Steel Orchestra, a post he still holds today.
Meanwhile, six Grenadian schools have been chosen to take part in the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari Music Workshop for Young Musicians, in conjunction with the Traveling Guitar Foundation of the United States.
An invitation was extended to selected schools to send students to the workshop to be held at 10.00 a.m. on Saturday at the Presentation Brothers College.
The schools sending students are Presentations Brothers College, St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, McDonald College, St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School, Grenada Boys’ Secondary School and Bishop’s College in Carriacou.
The Traveling Guitar Foundation is the brainchild of guitarist and songwriter Damon Marks who has performed and recorded with a wide range of notable musicians throughout his career, including Alicia Keys and Jermaine Paul, winner of the first season (2012) of the television competition The Voice.
The organisation’s focus is to inspire children through music and education by ensuring that music education programmes are available to them in schools.
Since 2010, the Foundation has provided musical equipment, guitar clinics, and support for music education programs across the United States, working to ensure that students have access to high-quality musical instruments and comprehensive instruction throughout their formative years.
The Traveling Guitar Foundation will also donate guitars to participating schools for their ongoing music education.
“I’ve always felt that the arts play a critical role in a child’s development in school,” said the Traveling Foundation’s Damon Marks.
“My whole thing is basically this – as long as I know that these guitars are going to be given to children and that these children are going to be taught properly, I don’t mind going anywhere in the world to do it because it’s for the children, and they’re our future”, he added.
According to Sandra Trim-DaCosta – Executive Director of the Foundation, the donation of the first-class guitars to schools in Grenada is made possible by both the Foundation and one of its primary sponsors, Schecter Guitars through the company’s Artist Relations Director, Allan Steelgrave.
Other Foundation sponsors include BulLion Entertainment, Google and Mogami Cables.
The workshop in Grenada is also supported by the US Embassy and the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
“This project with the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari, marks the first time that the Traveling Guitar Foundation charity is working with students outside of the US”, said Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari Founder, Tom Hinds.
“The workshop is an opportunity for students between the ages of 11 and 16 from the secondary schools to gain exposure to guitar playing at the highest level. This event is a highlight of an already exciting Jazz Safari.”
The Traveling Guitar Foundation group, led by its US West Coast Director Derek McKeith will also perform as part of the festival on Saturday at Mt Cinnamon Gardens.
McKeith will be joined jazz/R&B keyboardist Van Taylor of Taylor Made Jazz and Drummer Tim Webb in conducting the workshops with the students.
The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari – Grenada is sponsored by Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club, Flamboyant Hotel and Villas, LIAT, Grenada Board of Tourism, United Insurance, US Embassy, Sagicor, The Traveling Guitar Foundation (USA), Klassic AM, Coca Cola, Etang, Quinn Company Limited, Stoli, Presidente, El Dorado Rum, Grant’s Scotch Whiskey, Campari and Nedd’s Rental & Services.