Courtesy of Nigel Campbell, our local go-to on jazz —especially Caribbean jazz— here are a few Trini-rooted jazz artists who are making it big on the international jazz scene.
The most famous of course is the renowned jazz trumpeter, Etienne Charles. Despite his international success, Etienne often returns home to collaborate with local artists and to feed his creative soul. His music clearly comes from his Caribbean belly and his website proclaims his Trini roots.You can learn more about him and see his latest projects on his website, but Nigel's article "Etienne Charles - a profile" will get you up to speed on who Etienne is and why we can be proud of him.
David "Happy" Wiliams is a Woodbrook-born double-bassist, who never came back from a two-week New York visit because he kept getting offers to play music. He's played with jazz greats like Stan Getz and Chuck Mangione, but his music still reflects his Trini roots. You can hear pan on many of the songs featured on his website.
Leon Foster Thomas is a jazz pannist with a music degree and three solo albums to his credit. The critics call him a virtuoso and he is definitely helping make pan an accepted instrument on the world jazz stage.You can check out his work on his website.
Another international jazz artist spreading the gospel of pan is Rudy Smith who has been "beating" jazz on pan for decades. You can see an impressive list of international jazz artists Rudy has played with on his website and there's an Island Jazz Chat with Rudy Smith on the Jazz in the Islands podcast.
There are others, like jazz panmen Annise Hadeed, Othello Molineaux, Ron Reid, who is also an accomplished bassist, and drummer Richard Bailey.
Special thanks to Nigel Campbell for helping us with who-is-who in the jazz world. If you're even mildly interested in the jazz world from a Caribbean perspective you can keep pace with Music Matters: the Caribbean Edition and Island Jazz Chat podcasts.