A Jazz Prelude to New Year’s Eve

January 4, 2012

Kreyol Jazz fans, in the New York vicinity, are becoming accustomed to great performances at Mirelle’s Restaurant in Westbury. On Friday, December 30th, they were once again blessed with a remarkably entertaining and exciting performance by guitarist Chardavoine, one of the hottest Haitian Jazz musicians on the Kreyòl Jazz scene, and likely the most active producer of such entertainment in the community.

The artist opened the evening with a Stevie Wonder composition, “Creeping”, followed by “Nica’s Dream”, a Horace Silver classic. I had the impression that Chardavoine was going to take me back to Wes Montgomery 1965 performance in Netherland TV, buy it was Edy Brisseaux’s moment to shine. The concert continued to take steams with Edy’s own composition, “Manjo”.

Surrounded with a cast of remarkable musicians, the guitarist was living the moment with some eloquent, upbeat and warm solos. This special collaboration featuring saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart, bassist Michael O’ Brien, keyboardist Dave Archer, drummer Dave Gibson, trumpeter Edy Brisseaux and Fito on Haitian drums, was a special treat for the jazz fans in the tri-state area. The addition of Mario deVolcy on timbales and jazz vocalist Jennifer Louis embellished the evening with some vibrant moments.

The evening unfolded at an impressive pace, and the audience found plenty to enjoy. The amazing Jennifer Louis finally got on stage to perform “Haiti” and “Mesi Bonbye”, two great classic, taking from the Haitian repertoire. The latter by Frantz Casseus is one of the tunes that the world will never get tired of. Despite a terrible job by the sound engineers, the diva still found the character to deliver an astonishing performance.

The journey of the eclectic band continued with the Paul Desmond composition, “Take Five”, followed with a version ofJazz Fridays @ Mirelle's Bernard Wright’s “Who do you love”, featuring Mario deVolcy on timbales. Mario’s playing was vibrant and engaging, especially in “Who do you love”. The audience erupted with joy at time, as Mario was getting down to business. The stage was set for Chardavoine who took the concert to another level with his uplifting electric guitar sound.

The level of musical sophistication became obvious as Jacques Schwarz-Bart and Chardavoine engaged in a series of precise and dexterous solos in “Latibonit”. The musical dialogue between the two gifted artists was very captivating. Bassist Michael O’Brien and drummer Dave Gibson really displayed some great talent throughout the performance. Jennifer LouisVocalist Jennifer came back one more time to sing “invitation”, a Bronislau Kaper composition. Her convincing, delicate and classic jazz voice was truly an invitation to the audience to look forward to future performances.

It was Edy Brisseaux’s time to shine again in the well known Chick Corea’s composition, “Spain”. The artist was alive with remarkable fluidity. The concert finally came to an end with “Softly as in the morning sunrise”, a Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II’s composition. The arrangements were magnificent and refreshing. The combination of tunes and the selected cast of musicians worked beautifully together throughout the night. It was an exhilarating and exciting performance. The reaction of the audience after two and a half hours of music later, said it all. The fans were not ready to leave after Chardavoine said thank you and goodbye. If this memorable performance did not move you, please check your pulse.

Karl Joseph,
For KariJazz