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New Century, Same Genius: Ornette Coleman at JVC

Earl Klugh

The Caribbean has become the literal hot spot for a wave of new jazz festivals, where visitors can enjoy the sun, sand and sea along with the strains of familiar jazz, pop and soul music. Add to that list the Cayman Jazz Festival, which this year mounted its third three-day music fest on a new set of dates and new locales. Held December 8-10 at two sites of the sun-kissed British overseas colony (it was previously held in June 2004), the festival featured a mix of local Caribbean talent and American jazz stars, including Arturo Tappin, Najee, Al Jarreau and Ravi Coltrane.

Located some 480 miles southeast of Miami–due south of Cuba and 189 miles north of Jamaica–Grand Cayman is noted for its pristine beaches, excellent scuba diving, numerous banking establishments and swank resorts. As such, it’s a popular vacation spot for Canadians, Europeans and Americans. It was mostly Americans and other Caribbeans who flocked to the first night’s show, a double bill of Grammy-nominated nylon string guitarist Earl Klugh and popular smooth-jazz flute and saxophone star Najee at the Westin Casuarina Hotel, located north of the capital of George Town along Seven Mile Beach.

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