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‘Slow drinkers, no drinkers, minimal drinkers’ – it’s all about the jazz

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Shine Hayward (Photograph supplied)

Next Friday, listen out for the music.

Wendell “Shine” Hayward, Miles Manders and John Woolridge are behind a two-hour show starting at 7am at the roundabout at Crow Lane. No matter the weather they will be there performing alongside some of Bermuda’s top musicians.

It is all to promote International Jazz Day when they have planned a series of music workshops and a live concert at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

The celebration, which is held every year on April 30, was started in 2011 by Unesco “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe”.

Shine’s company, Danji Productions, got involved a decade ago.

“Jazz is a music that crosses all barriers of cultures and brings people together in an effort to secure peace, love and harmony among us,” he said.

“International Jazz Day will be celebrated between approximately 190 countries around the world and six continents. It is a huge undertaking that they are doing.”

This year, more than 20 local musicians are involved. The group will follow its early morning show with a performance at City Hall from noon to 4pm. Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, will then officially proclaim the following day as International Jazz Day.

A series of workshops and presentations will be held at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess next Saturday; the celebrations will end with a concert featuring Tony Bari, Stan Gilbert, Miles Manders, Toni Robinson, Tom Ray, Tino Martinez, Shelton Bean, John Woolridge, Shine, and many other well known jazz artists in Bermuda.

“We have about 21 musicians that will be involved. We’re trying not to go full blast but, what we've done, we've invited individual musicians to perform as headliners and they will be backed by what we call the International Jazz Day Rhythm Section and perform two standards.”

With live performances a rare event since the pandemic began in 2020, the show is likely to be just as exciting for the musicians as it is for jazz lovers, he added.

“Everyone is pretty much just starting now to perform. They will tell you, ‘I haven't performed in two years, I haven’t been on a stage in over two years; I haven't been in front of an audience for over two years.’ Those who have been really busy – over the past let's say a year-and-a-half – have been the ones who have been performing in graveyards, unfortunately.

“Everything just came to a standstill; there was absolutely nothing. Because churches shut down even musicians who were performing in churches were no longer performing. Hopefully, most guys and girls took advantage of the opportunity to practice and stay sharp, knowing that the pandemic would not last for ever. So I guess it gave us you know, plenty of practice time.”

Shine, a saxophone player with decades of performances behind him, said it was relatively easy to find musicians for the show.

“A lot of us are connected because of the time that we’ve all been in this business called music and being in Bermuda. So we can reach out and organise each other through WhatsApp.

“We've done something similar for the past ten years. There was one year that we recognised April as Jazz Month – in some parts of the world April is recognised as Jazz Month – and we did something every weekend. We had mini supper clubs, between four different venues coming from Somerset to St George's.”

Another event honoured Clarence “Tootsie” Bean, a respected jazz drummer who performed internationally and died last April.

Shine does it all with the knowledge that jazz is not a huge draw in Bermuda.

“I won’t say there's a huge audience for jazz. Jazz is not so prominent in Bermuda. Jazz is America’s contribution to music. But we do have some very fine jazz artists here.

“I was talking to one buddy of mine from the hotel and he was saying, ‘What's up with jazz audiences? Those folks don't drink too much.’ It's not something that persons will promote if they're looking to make a whole lot of money because persons who are into jazz, they come out and they want to listen to and appreciate the music and the skills of the performers. So they are slow drinkers or no drinkers or minimal drinkers. You go to a jazz event and you can rest assured there will be no disturbances because everyone is mellow, everyone is calm and peaceful; the attendees cross all barriers, cross all cultures, all political and religious affiliations – everybody somehow can appreciate a form of jazz.”

For more information on International Jazz Day visit www.jazzday.com. For tickets visit www.bdatix.bm

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Published April 22, 2022 at 8:17 am (Updated April 22, 2022 at 8:17 am)

‘Slow drinkers, no drinkers, minimal drinkers’ – it’s all about the jazz

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