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July 8, 2011, Westbury, NY In spite of a rainy Friday night, Mirelle's, a popular nightclub/restaurant in Westbury, Long Island was fairly well attended by an audience, which comfortably filled most of the tables in the small cozy room to listen to a Kreyol Jazz concert which featured two great bands.

Jazz Fridays at Mirelle's is an innovative concert series organized by Karijazz to primarily showcase Haitian jazz artists. This second concert of the series featured bassist Rigaud Simon, saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart and comedian Haitian V. Both artists led their group to an exciting and pleasant evening full of great music and intellectually invigorating experiences.

Rigaud who opened the evening, performed in a septet format and played for about one hour, delighting its audience with a latin-funk styled repertoire. The two horn players of the group Rogerts Charles (alto saxophone) and Travis Antoine (trumpet) - both well known Haitian young lions, played in near perfect symmetry over the plucking bass line of bassist Rigaud Simon. The eccentric piano playing of Axel Laugart delivering an Afro-Cuban accompaniment to the music created an exotic sound and originality to the band's musical character.

Schwarz-Bart, a native Guadeloupian and now a New York resident, who has performed and recorded with other Haitian groups, brought his Jazz Racine Haiti group (his newest venture) consisting of trumpet, saxophone, piano, double bass, percussion, drums, and a vocalist to a mostly Haitian audience in Long Island. The group embraces Haitian roots music as it explores compositions inspired from traditional Haitian melodies and rhythms. Schwarz-Bart band's fulsome sound was unleashed with intensity and robust timbres emanating from the saxophonist's deep resonance, the drummer's energized playing, the piano's relentless contrapuntal shifting tempos and the bassist's percussive style. Haitian drummer Bonga Jean-Baptiste laid out the fundamental Vodou rhythms, which added carburant to an already combustive and spirited upbeat cadenza of the ensemble. Guest vocalist Monvelyno Alexis navigated his Creole chants through a narrow corridor of heavy traffic of complex polyrhythmic riffs.

This new trend in creole music seems to have found a new niche in Long Island where a large segment of the New York Haitian community makes its home. The performers have brought excitement to a crowd of mostly Haitian music aficionados and a renewed sense of a cultural communion between artists and a participative audience. Karijazz may have found a formula at promoting this new music. The weather forecast for the third Kreyol jazz concert series: Sunny!

Stay tune!

JAZZ RACINE HAITI Personnel: - Jacques Schwartz-Bart; saxophone - Ari Hoening: Drums - Milan Milanovic: Piano - Bonga Jean-Baptiste: Haitian drums - Tatum Greenblatt: Trumpet - Sam Minaie: Bass - Monvelyno Alexis: Vocal

Monday, July 10, 2011

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