Brooklyn Band Wins NY Jamaica Jazz Fest Band Quest


CARIBPR Wire, NEW YORK, NY, January 19, 2010: An eight -member reggae band from Brooklyn, New York, on Monday night became the winner of the 2010 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Band Quest in New York City.

Under the Rasta Influence, or U.R.I., beat out the New Kingston Band in a close competition to walk away with the title and the opportunity to perform before thousands at the Greenfield Stadium, Trelawny, Jamaica later this month.

 U.R.I., led by lead singer Donovan Ernest, won from a field of nine other bands that included New Kingston, 770 MPH and Lyndon John X and the Unifighters from Canada, PCMG from Los Angeles, Mosiac Foundation from Rochester, NY, the Soulutions, Ano Okera and Barbee at the finalists audition at SOB’s in New York City.

 “It’s a great opportunity for us and the rest of the band to go to the birthplace of reggae music,” commented Ernest on the win. “It is most positive and all about the vibes.”

 U.R.I. is made up of Ernest along with Stephen Gold, Taylor Cannizzaro, Russ Mitkowski, Mike DeRosa, Sean Lewis, Tim Shipman and Whitney Brown.

 The New York finalists audition was presented by Link Up Media Group, Jamrock Magazine and Turn Key Productions, producers of the annual festival. Judges included renown musician, Monty Alexander; record label executives Cristy Barber of VP Records and Margeaux Rawson from Universal Motown Records; Jamaica Tourist Board representative, Christopher Dobson and radio personality of and Sirius, Ken Webb.

 In a separate audition held in Florida on January 5, 2010 at the Ginger Bay Cafe, the Florida winner was  Jazz musician, Jon Saxx and his band, Endless Possibilities.

 All Jamaica Band Quest winners will be flown to Jamaica to perform from Jan. 28-30th.

 The annual Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival will be held from January 24-30, 2010 in Jamaica.

 The festival has become synonymous with the culture of Jamaica and will feature not just local performance but a slew of international acts including multiple award winners Gladys Knight, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Erykah Badu, Billy Ocean, Joe Roy Jackson, Kelly Price, Tamia, Deborah Cox, Hall and Oats, Jon Secada, Monty Alexander, Roy Ayers, Third World, Machel Montano HD, Marion Hall, and the Max Klezmer Band. 

Jamaica Jazz since its introduction in 1996 was known as the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, has attracted thousands of patrons from the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and Jamaica. This year the festival is again being presented by key title sponsor, the Jamaica Tourist Board. Other sponsors include Air Jamaica, Iberostar, Rose Hall Resort, CVM TV, Link Up Group, Jamrock Magazine and The Gleaner Company among others.

 Tickets and packages are still available at


PHOTO: NY Jamaica Band Quest winner, U.R.I. (Under the Rasta Influence)