Jazz legend Hayward honoured by Jamaican hotel
Jamaica’s iconic Half Moon Hotel will pay tribute to Bermudian musician Lance Hayward by naming its new oceanfront bar and grill “Hayward’s”.
Sylvia Hayward, Mr Hayward’s daughter, was delighted by the news.
She said: “I immediately began to cry. I was really touched because the Half Moon Hotel has always had a lot of respect for my father and his music.
“He loved Jamaica. When I was 9, my first trip off the island was to go with my mom and spend some time there. He had many, many friends there.
“He liked Jamaica a great deal and was always very appreciative of the fact that he was able to get steady work there.”
Ms Hayward said her father, a blind pianist, turned to Jamaica for work because of the difficulty making ends meet as a musician in Bermuda.
She said: “In the off season in Bermuda there was no work for him. He had a family to support.
“Frankly, if he did not have his musicianship, he would have been lost in Bermuda as a blind man.”
Mr Hayward began to work at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay in the late Fifties as part of a quartet.
In 1959, he met Chris Blackwell, the son of a prominent white Jamaican family and a water-skiing instructor at the same hotel. Mr Blackwell fell in love with the music.
Mr Blackwell launched Island Records and released its debut album, Lance Hayward at the Half Moon, the same year.
The label later grew to international significance with the worldwide success of Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Mr Hayward established himself as a household name among American jazz aficionados and drew standing room only audiences to his performances for decades.
He died in 1991, but Ms Hayward said that her father was still remembered fondly in both Jamaica and New York, where he was a regular performer at the Village Corner.
She added: “Bermuda doesn’t seem to have quite the same attachment to my dad as they do in New York and Jamaica.
“For years after dad died, they still had this huge portrait of him hanging over the piano at the Village Corner.
“In Bermuda, there was a mural of my father with Bob Marley on Jamaican Grill, but they cut a big hole in his face for the jerk chicken.”
Ms Hayward said “Hayward’s” was expected to open to customers in November, and she hoped to have a contingent of Bermudians there to celebrate the occasion.
She invited anyone interested in taking part to contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms Hayward added: “Maybe this is the time when we finally begin to connect with and honour our heritage.”
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