The Ultimate Celebration Closes Saint Lucia Jazz On A High Note – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

By Coretta Joe

The Ultimate Celebration was a fitting end to the 2024 edition of The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. It was well-paced and well-attended, and a feeling of serenity washed over the venue – the historic Pigeon Island Landmark.

The event falling on Mother’s Day was a sweet coincidence, making it a family affair. Some patrons took in the event picnic-style, and some children were even spotted hoisted atop shoulders to get a glimpse of the action on stage. 

All the acts on the night gave soul-stirring performances – Augustin “Jab” Duplessis, Carl Gustave, Michele Henderson, Babyface and Air Supply. “Jab” and Gustave entertained the afternoon crowd with their smooth sounds and received rousing applause. 

12-year-old saxophone protege and Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School student Herbie Altenor stole the show when his mentor “Jab” brought him on stage for a riveting duet. They performed Buga by Kizz Daniel and Tekno, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. 

Dominican songstress Michele Henderson was resplendent in yellow, green, and a multi-coloured head wrap. She took the audience on a musical journey and covered top hits such as Nina Simone’s Feeling Good and Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed. The talented musician, known as the “princess of song” in her homeland, also performed a few songs in Creole, a pivotal moment rooted in respect and representation of her heritage. She closed her set with Prince’s Purple Rain. 

When the lights dimmed as the band prepared to set up, and the words “Air Supply” lit the stage, it was pure chaos. Fans screamed and shouted while some stood in awe. It was a historic moment – legendary Australian soft rock duo Air Supply’s first performance in Saint Lucia. 

The star-struck crowd grooved, rocked, and sang to classic ballads such as All Out of Love, Every Woman in the World, Making Love Out of Nothing At All, and Just As I Am. 

Closing the night was 13-time Grammy Award winner Babyface. The singer, writer, and producer has undoubtedly perfected the art of stage presence during his illustrious career. He was dressed in a sequined blazer that glimmered so bright that you could spot him on stage no matter where you stood. And his backup singers were incredible. Their vocal range complemented him well. Babyface’s performance was a masterclass that they should teach in performance school. 

The R&B royalty has racked up numerous hits for himself and others, and his treatment of each song was A-class. Everytime I Close My Eyes, Two Occasions, and Whip Appeal were some of his own songs that he performed. Other songs he performed included Boyz-II-Men’s I’ll Make Love To You and End of The Road, Tevin Campbell’s Can We Talk, and Whitney Houston’s Exhale (Shoop Shoop). 

The sentiments echoed by many, including Soca king Machel Montano, are correct: “No one does Jazz like Saint Lucia”. You have to be there in person to witness the magic.