Sware Jazz Kreyòl
Inaugural Performance | Little Haiti Cultural Center
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The Haitian Neighborhood Center, Sant La, kicked off its "Sware Jazz Kreyòl" series with a splendid show at the "Little Haiti Cultural Center", located in the heart of Little Haiti in Miami. Mushy Widmaier, Bémol Telfort and Ginou Oriol took the audience to new heights and certainly worked effortlessly to the success of this inaugural performance. Being among the best ambassadors and pioneers of the so-called Kreyòl Jazz, these musicians, indeed, delivered a stupendous two-set-show that the audience enjoyed as it appeared from conversations and reflections during the intermission and at the end of the event.
Keyboards virtuoso Mushy Widmaier opened the first set with a bang, revisiting Miles Davis' famous tune "Tutu". With Jean Caze on trumpet, Dony Felix on Bass and Harvel Nakundi on drums, the quartet ventured into a series of old and new tunes that expressed the cohesiveness of the group and the rich palette of colors each musician could bring to the band that was clearly inspired that night. Caze worked every inch of his horn. As years passed the trumpeter continues to improve his playing and his solos exhibit greater improvisation skills. Mushy continued to amaze the audience throughout the evening with musical brilliance as he performed tunes from his latest release "My World", as well as some new tunes, such as "Men yo Men yo" and "Makaron". What makes this quartet great is the ability to improvise in a kinetic way without overpowering one another. Credit should be given to Mr. Widmaier for that. Harvel was simply astounding and Dony's playing was certainly the essence of cool.
After a brief intermission, guitarist Bemol Telfort and his group opened the second set with "Love for my guitar", a tune from his latest release, "A multi-Color Dream". The band followed with "Samba Kreyol", "Mesi Bondye" and "Latibonit". The audience became very receptive on the third piece and one could hear enthusiastic shouts here and there. Bemol's clear and precise guitar playing was very impressive. His obvious dedication and passion for the instrument, the strict practice discipline he has imposed himself for many years has produced brilliant results: a unique sound and countless melodies for our ears. Bassist Serge Dor caught attention with his swinging groove in Mèsi Bondye. His playing was simply enjoyable.
Although she lives in Atlanta now, Ginou Oriol has a special connection with Miami. When she joined Bemol Telfort Jazz (BTJ) on stage to finish the second set, the audience became very excited as she hit the first noticeable note on the popular Haitian traditional song "Yoyo". Her vocal ability captured the audience and created very colorful melodies throughout the evening. A special mention should be made of her rendition of the popular standard summertime.
Before the grand finale, Sant La's Executive Director Gepsie Metellus joined by three board members Jean Renazile, Thomas Eugene and Rulx Jean-Bart gave each performer a Thank-you-plaque for their contribution to the success of the night. Last but not least, the main attraction was the "Jam session" or the "Unity set", where all the musicians came on stage together as one group to give it all. What was unique about this group of musicians was the ability to let their improvisations flow naturally and smoothly. Mushy in particular continued to display keyboard astuteness with the same energy and intensity he started the evening. Bemol, Caze and Jocelyn (Bemol's saxophonist) inspired the audience with a series of improvisations of their own. As the jam session ended, the audience gave the artists a well deserved stand-ovation for such a great performance.
It was a great night to remember for several reasons. The show started on time and remained on schedule throughout the night. The transition between the sets was very smooth, and the performance was just monumental. We hope to see the "Sware Jazz Kreyol" management team operate with the same energy and eagerness to support the Kreyol Jazz movement in the future. As stated in the brochure provided for the event, "The Kreyol Jazz movement is upon us. The style is intoxicating. Hear it, love it, and get addicted to it.
I heard it, I loved it and I'm sure I will get addicted to it, providing the same quality is maintained for future events. Giving the performance record of "Sant La" in their endeavors to assist and empower South Florida Haitian community, it will not be an impossible mission to make someone addicted to great performances like this one.
July 19, 2009