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A step further toward a true Haitian identity in the world of Jazz

Posted: May 12, 2010

Markus Schwartz and Tanbou nan Lakou Brooklyn QuartetPercussionist Markus Schwartz came to Miami with a new quartet, to be part of the Zakafest celebration that took place on May 1st at the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Plaza in North Miami, Florida. This year, Zakafest was a festival of well-balanced mix of roots music from different ethnic groups sharing the North Miami community. Lakou Brooklyn Quartet includes musicians who are familiar with the Kreyol Jazz scene. Saxophonist Buyu Ambroise, guitarist Monvelyno Alexis, bassist Yunior Terry, along with Markus playing Haitian-drums, embarked the audience in a journey with a swinging set of delightful tunes punctuated with dazzling improvised solos.

The quartet opened the show with Dilere, followed by Anonse and Yanvalou, before settling down with a mind-blowing solo performance by bassist Yunoir Terry. He captivated the audience with his creative approach and sharp rhythms. Buyu Ambroise played with a high intensity and stretched beyond customary limits. Guitarist Monvelyno Alexis drove us into his world of sounds. He dug deep into our roots with passion, intensity and style. His solos were stunning and really instill a communicative dancing energy to the public.

Then came "Seremoni Tiga", a great tune on Markus latest CD; saxophonist Buyu Ambroise rocked his instruments to compensate Jowee Omicil's absence. Toward the end of the performance, Eddy Francois was invited to join the group. Eddy is a superstar, an icon, and one of the best "rasin" voice. With a great sense of improvisation, he took the stage and executed a medley of his popular tunes. His presence on stage brought back a lot of memories. It was an exciting moment!

Band leader, Haitian-drums player Markus Schwartz was in great company with a splendid quartet. He played strong throughout the night. In my view, few drummers have the aptitude to rise to the level of artistry Markus achieved since his first album "Simiḍ". LBQ embarked in a different direction with a music that sounds uniquely Haitian. With musicians of that caliber, embracing this approach, we will probably see this music reaching another level. This true Afro-Haitian sound will stamp our identity in the jazz world.

Karl Joseph
May 12, 2010

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