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Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miami FL
Saturday, August 29, 2009

If anyone had doubts about Jowee Omicil's abilitiy to lead a world class band to a perfect evening of great music, these uncertainties should be favorably revisited after experiencing this vibrant performance I witnessed Saturday evening. The saxophonist chose to showcase his talents during the CD release party with a lean talented group of musicians, coming from different part of the world.

With such a crew of highly qualified cats, Jowee opened the evening with "Mesi Bondye", a traditional of our rich repertoire. A personal approach in the arrangements gave this classic Frantz Casseus' tune a kind of new Jazzy flavor. The audience was obviously pleased. The artist followed with a special track on his latest release entitled "4 My People", dedicated to the people of Haiti, affected by the 2008 flood.

Flanked of a dynamic rhythmic section consisting of bassist Kona Khasu from Liberia, guitarist Kodjovi Mawuena from Togo, drummers Francisco Mela from Cuba and the Haitian Kenyan Harvel Nakundi, Jowee and his friends played infectiously throughout the night. Needless to say, percussionist and tabla player Jeffrey Dean from India, contributed strongly to the collective energy of the rhythm section, every time he joined the band on stage. With this new step, Jowee set an obvious reference point by using, almost during the entire evening, two drummers playing simultaneously, adding more intricacy to the rhythmic lines. Francisco and Harvel delivered with authority, especially during their jam sessions. Well Done! The addition of DJ Val-Inc's prowess on several tunes put the final touches in building this unique ambiance of the evening. Her magical skills culminated to the highest on "Bee Bop", another great tune on this new project.

Playing alternatively on alto and soprano, the saxophonist also used his unique vocal ability to show incredible energy the entire evening. His interaction with the audience really kept the show on high gear. The audience was spoiled with a parade of talented musicians who added new flavors to the event as the evening progressed. Singer Nadelca from Panama gave the audience something to remember with her rendition of "Jn Jn". She is a fine singer with amazing scat skills. Errol Josue, "the new Samba in the block" captured the audience with his rendition of "Prezidan", a poignant incantation that seemed to come out from his gut. His performance really lifted the audience energy.

Jowee really showed his versatility when he performed the standard "All The Things You Are". I was moved by the flexibility and the ability of the band to alternate from one style to another. From roots, funky, to straightahead jazz, the band delivered with the same intensity and enjoyment. There was joy and fun in the air, especially on the face of bassist Kona Khasu, who obviously was having a lot of fun on stage. I was impressed with the high standard of the performance. Rhythmically, it was a very colorful evening, enriched with beautiful and tasteful melodies as we love them at KariJazz. Well done to the staff who put the program together, and the performers who worked their magic on Little Haiti Cultural Center's stage.

Karl Joseph
August 31, 2009

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