Hammond organ maestro, Kingsley Ettienne, in his second gig at the Grog Shoppe, Devon House in as many years, turned in a sound performance Monday night which left the fans who turned out quite happy.
Monday's event marked the first in the series of shows at the Grog Shoppe, ending last night, dubbed the Jazz Organ Summit, presented as part of the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival.
Having woven his brand of musical magic at the Almond Tree Restaurant in Ocho Rios the previous day, the Grenadian-born Canadian resident jazz organist once again turned it on.
Accompanied by his regular sideman, Doug Richardson, on the tenor saxophone, and stand in drummer, Deleon White, he took the audience on a wild ride during which he performed mostly swing and bebop with some blues, all of which genres enabled him to highlight the range and the awesome power of this great instrument.
While he is perhaps not quite abreast of the acknowledged doyen of the instrument Jimmy Smith, Ettienne is a gifted organist and his gift for free-styling improvisation and his infectious effervescence as a performer make him a delight to listen to and to watch.
Doug Richardson, too, is a smooth horn blower whose playing is also a treat for the ear. For his part, Deleon White, who, like Carl McLeod on Sunday, was deputising for Ettienne's regular drummer who couldn't make the trip to Jamaica, showed that he is a much more than competent jazz drummer, and provided excellent backup.
While most of the pieces were unannounced, among the items the trio played were the gospel chorus Down By The Riverside and some hard-driving John Coltrane, while Ettienne exercised his vocals on Bring It On Home To Me, Georgia, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Every Day I Have The Blues.
Joined on stage by guitarist, Maurice Gordon, the quartet also did a jaunty rendition of the mento standard, St Thomas, segueing into Linstead Market. This segment of the evening's proceedings was highlighted by a sparkling, extended Deleon White drum solo, who at one stage was left on the bandstand by his bandmates (one jokingly waving goodbye to him as he exited) as he perfected the art of noise. The solo earned the drummer, who usually backs reggae artistes such as Bushman and Mutabaruka, richly-deserved applause.
White, who described the experience of playing with Ettienne as hard work but a lot of fun, was praised by the organist as a "very promising young player".
Earlier, Gordon, backed by keyboard player, Jill Gibson, bass player Dale Haslam and White played a number of delightful, mostly Maurice Gordon compositions, some drawn from his 1999 album Irie Mood.
Come this weekend, another Hammond organ player, Joey De Francesco, will be in action in Ocho Rios at the jazz festival's final concert at the Almond Tree Gardens. The 28-year old organist, who already has 12 albums and countless guest appearances under his belt, like Ettienne, is expected to put on quite a show, to bring the curtain down on the 2001 Ocho Rios Jazz Festival.