Oct. 28, 2003 – On Saturday night, Mongoose Junction will become the jazz mecca of St. John, and quite possibly St. Thomas, too, as island-based international music producer Steve Simon hosts an evening of live performances to celebrate the release of an album also of live performances.
In fact, Simon says, "The Best of Jazz in the Moonlight, Vol. I" is "the first jazz CD recorded live on St. John."
The recordings were made at three concerts Simon and his Moonlight Foundation presented on island in the last year and a half:
– On June 22, 2002, in the Mongoose Junction Courtyard, featuring New York jazz vocalists Rick MacLaine and Melissa Hamilton and St. John's own Marty Beechler singing with The Moonlight Orchestra.
– Last Nov. 30, on the beach at the Westin Resort, showcasing St. Thomas pianist Roan Creque and his band — R.C. and Company — with St. Thomian Dion Parson on drums and Bill Saxton on sax, along with Sally Smith and Friends.
– Last Dec. 28, also at the Westin, featuring Cuba's Hilario Duran with special guests Ernesto Simpson and Roberto Occhipinti, along with St. John's own Sambacombo.
The album, which is priced at $20, has 12 cuts: "The Road Less Traveled" and "My Romance" (Roan Creque and Company); "Gabrielle" and "Falling in Love with Love" (Sally Smith and Friends); "Loud-Zee," "Timba Mabo" and "Remember Me" (Hilario Duran); "Morning" (Sambacombo); "The Lady Is a Tramp" (Marty Beechler); "The Look of Love" (Anna Tucker); "It's Impossible" (Adriana) and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (Steve Simon and Roan Creque)
On Saturday from 8 p.m. until the proverbial "until," and back where it all began in the Mongoose Junction Courtyard, Simon again is presenting vocalist Hamilton, joined by "some of the Virgin Islands' most gifted musicians as they jam all night long" in a tribute to St. John's Jazz in the Moonlight concert series. And lest you take that "all night long" as hype, let it be known that the first get-together at the same venue attracted a "full house" that stayed until 2:30 a.m.
Bar service and light food will be available.
"We are very proud to be celebrating the release of our first CD," Simon says. "This amazing album is truly a tribute to everyone on St. John and St. Thomas who supported our first two seasons with their love and enthusiasm."
It's dedicated to "Graeme Davis and the great staff at the Westin Resort, to Glenn Speer and all our friends at Mongoose Junction, and to everyone at Pirate Radio, and to Danny Silber, Michael Barry and Helen Simon … for helping make St. John the coolest place on Earth."
Proceeds from the CD sales will go into The Moonlight Foundation's scholarship program for The Coral Bay School.
For those who can't make it Saturday night but want to get a copy of the CD, here are your options: They'll be sold at Bamboula, Best of Both Worlds, Connections, Every Ting and Simple Feast on St. John. And they can be ordered online by e-mailing your request to Jazz in the Moonlight.
For information about the 2003-04 schedule of Moonlight Foundation concerts, starting Nov. 29 with an evening of Latin jazz at the Westin starring Grammy Award-winning flautist Nestor Torres, see "Coming up: Moonlight Jazz the CD and Season 3". For updates, visit the colorful, animated Jazz in the Moonlight Web site, e-mail Steve Simon or call him at 693-8120.
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