February 18, 2010

Awesome Babyface dazzles at Jazz Fest

Photo by Adrian Frater
Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds performs at Jamaica Jazz and Blues at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium Thursday night.

Adrian Frater, News



In a memorable 90-minute set befitting his superstar status, 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds on Thursday night dazzled patrons at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium as they embraced the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival.

Entering centre stage at 11 o'clock as the night's penultimate act, the American singer, renowned for his charisma and sex appeal, came, saw and conquered as he tantalised and ultimately left his adoring fans in a state of musical ecstasy.

Babyface overshadowed the earlier magical performances of the likes of British songbird Joss Stone, Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander and the sizzling Cherine Anderson.

Dressed dapperly in black with sunglasses, Babyface opened to rousing applause with his popular hit, For the Cool in You, lifting the tempo with Every Time I Close, before climbing into cruise control with the provocative Never Keepin' Secrets.

With the audience under his spell, it was vintage Babyface all the way, while showing off his versatility with the guitar, the crooner kept the screaming frenzy going, with songs like Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, Bump 'n' Grind, Love Me in a Special Way and an unforgettable medley from his Tender Lover album.

High gear

In-between chit-chatting about his childhood experience and jamming with his lead guitarist, Babyface went into high gear, masterfully reeling off songs like Tenderoni, Can We Talk, Ready or Not, My, My, My and End of the Road before climbing into the crowd of the VIP section to soak up the energy.

Perspiration streaming down his face, Babyface paid tribute to the late Michael Jackson, describing him as "an amazing and beautiful spirit", before delivering pulsating renditions of Gone Too Soon and Change the World.

Prior to the Babyface invasion, 21-year-old Joss Stone, gave patrons a taste of her musical prowess.

Within a minute of taking the stage, belting out the song, Leaning on You, the barefooted Joss Stone vacated the stage and went frolicking with fans, who hugged and waved at her.

Back on stage, Joss Stone went into overdrive, with Super Duper Lover, What You Gonna Do, a sexy rendition - in reggae - of Bob Marley's Turn Your Lights Down Low and a flavourful delivery of I Got the Feeling.

As he has been doing year after year, Jamaica's world-class pianist Monty Alexander brought the real jazz to the jazz festival, with strong support from drummer Desi Jones and the phenomenal Trinidad and Tobago saxophonist Etienne Charles.

Monty Alexander and his entourage were at their sizzling best with their amazing instrumental rendition of Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry and a brilliant vocal delivery of Michael Jackson's Beat It by Haitian singer Jean-Paul Dominique. In total, it was a case of making brilliant look simple.

Romain Virgo, Cherine Anderson, Joe Roy Jackson and The Whispers also performed.


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