Jamaica’s Rose Hall development in Montego Bay is set to become a feast for the soul this January when the “new” Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival returns to the popular resort area from January 22-24, 2009. Fans will be able to sing along to the soulful sounds of the famous O’Jays, Atlantic Starr, Lionel Richie, Lou Gramm of Foreigner fame and Maxi Priest among several others.
Many will remember the O’Jays for hits like “Lonely Drifter,” “Backstabbers,” Put Your Hands Together,” “For the Love of Money,” “Give the People What They Want,” “Let Me Make Love To You” and “Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet Tender Love).” Of course Atlantic Starr has thrilled many with “Always“ and who could forget “Secret Lovers?” While Lou Gramm has lent his voice to Foreigner with “I Want to Know What Love Is“ and “Waitin For A Girl Like You,” among others, Lionel Richie’s musical repertoire needs no introduction.
The Academy-award and Grammy-award winning singer returns to the festival with old and new hits, including a sneak peak into this 2009 album, “Just Go.” The album's lead single “Good Morning” was released to Urban AC radio on November 3, 2008 and features the writings of Akon and Ne-Yo. Of course there will be no ignoring of the classics like “Stuck On You,” “Endless Love” and “Three Times A Lady.”
And Maxi Priest is sure to spice things up with a glimpse into his “Wild World,” as he takes “Just A Little Bit Longer” to get “Close To You.”
Performances for the January event will also come from jazz singer, Randy Crawford & Joe Sample, Chicago, Estelle, Robin Thicke, Alto Reed's Blues Entourage, Los Van Van, Tony Hendriks and young Canadian sensation, 13-year-old Nikki Yanofsky.
The 2009 festival is being presented this year by the Jamaica Tourist Board, which is the new title sponsor. As such, the festival has been renamed the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival. Executive producer, Walter Elmore of Turn Key Productions explains, the annual event has definitely become synonymous with brand Jamaica so renaming it makes sense.
The festival, which since its introduction in 1996 was known as the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, has attracted thousands of patrons from the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and Jamaica. International artistes that have performed at the festival include Alicia Keys, Kenny Rogers, Norah Jones, Julio Iglesias, Roberta Flack, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, India Arie, Nancy Wilson, Earth Wind and Fire, Kenny G., Michael McDonald, Gladys Knight, Kool & the Gang, Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, Brian McKnight Harry Belafonte, Babyface, Stephanie Mills, George Benson, Erykah Badu, Gladys Knight, Michael Bolton, and many more. And to bring the Jamaican flavor, well-known names such as Ziggy Marley, Morgan Heritage, Third World, Toots Hibbert, Shaggy, Sean Paul Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, Monty Alexander, Ritchie Stephens and many other Jamaican talents have made their mark on the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues stage.
This year the festival is being presented by key title sponsor, the Jamaica Tourist Board along with Rose Hall Developments, Jamrock Magazine, Half Moon, The Jamaica Observer, Holiday Inn Sun Spree, The Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Rose Hall, Courts Jamaica, CaribPR, Sky Writings Magazine and CMS Media.