Jan. 5, 2003 Willard Fields, the force behind Sunset Jazz in Frederiksted, put his considerable talents and energy behind a special event Saturday night — the kickoff of Jazz@Coral World featuring R.C. & Company in the beautiful surroundings at St. Thomas's premier attraction.
The event, first in a four-part series, showcased not only musicians Roan Creque, Charles Lynch and Vincent Wallace Jr., but also offered attendees a rare opportunity to wander through Coral World by moonlight serenaded by the sounds of live jazz offered up by three of the Virgin Islands best-known, best-loved musicians.
The trio, with Creque on keyboard, Lynch on drums and Wallace's smooth bass guitar, presented classic jazz pieces by Bill Evans and Joe Sample and arrangements of "My Romance" by Rodgers and Hart and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Girl from Ipanema" arranged by Creque. The first set ended with a rendition of Albert Hammond's "It Never Rains in Southern California."
The park is a perfect venue for such events, with plenty of room to stretch out at tables scattered under the stars or sit close in and focus on the musicians in the amphitheater section.
Trudie Prior of Coral World, Choice Communications, Cruzan Rum, Elizabeth Jane's boutique, attorney Diane Russell and Perfection Beach Rentals have joined forces to offer this series to the community in support of Jazz Arts Virgin Islands Inc., a not-for-profit corporation whose aims are:
– To provide concerts, lecture-demonstrations and other events to further the understanding and appreciation of jazz music and history.
– To recognize exceptional work in jazz education, study and performance through awards, scholarships and other means.
– To develop and implement workshops, retreats and activities to foster exchanges between professional and aspiring jazz musicians.
– To research, document and disseminate information on the artistic, cultural and historic accomplishments of jazz musicians of Virgin Islands/Caribbean origin.
Three more concerts are scheduled for the series to be held on Friday nights:
Jan. 23 — Boston saxophonist and Cadence recording artist Joel Press performing with the Vin Phillip Quartet.
Feb. 27 — "The Trumpet Summit" showcasing the talents of St. Croix trumpeters Eddie Russell and Marcus Rabb.
March 26 — The Jeff Medina Group, an ensemble led by local guitarist Medina that gives a modern edge to traditional jazz standards.
The thinking behind the choice of venue, according to Fields, was that "jazz has mostly been presented in bars or in restaurant/bar settings where sessions sometimes go on until the wee hours of the morning," which makes it "extremely difficult for young people, especially young aspiring musicians, to be exposed to live jazz. We thought Coral World would be the perfect place for everyone to come and also the perfect place to expose the next generation of jazz musicians and jazz lovers to world-class jazz."
So get the word out: Coral World is the new venue for jazz under the stars on St. Thomas. And don't miss the opportunity to see the park at night while relaxing to the cool sounds of the Virgin Islands' finest jazz musicians.
All concerts will begin at 7 p.m. and go until approximately 10 p.m. The Coral World gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for the general public and $5 for students, with no advance ticket sales. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Additional sponsorships are invited, as is advertising in the concert series program booklet. For more information, contact Fields by e-mailing to Jazz Arts VI or calling 775-1404.
For information about the marine attraction, visit the Coral World Web site.
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