Close Your Eyes And Ella Was In Barbados

 

“This was the real thing and the audience knew it.”

There are not many places you’ll find a performer confident and skilled enough to follow in the footsteps of the first lady of song.

But at the Hilton on Thursday night, Kellie Cadogan proved Barbados was just that. Her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald showed the island’s talent is rich and deep.

Cadogan’s love of music percolated through the night air. Like Fitzgerald, her performance is exuberant, uplifting and very smooth.

Something Out of the Ordinary

She took on some of Fitzgerald’s best known songs, as well as an outstanding rendition of Sunshine of Your Love, the rocky blues number originally by British rock group Cream.

All of Me and the Gershwin number Summertime were given the Ella Fitzgerald treatment.  The latter was elevated from a jazz standard to something out of the ordinary.

Kellie Cadogan sings Ella Fitzgerald

Kellie Cadogan sings Ella Fitzgerald

The audience of Bajans and tourists loved it – there was standing room only. This was no amateur night or a talent show made up of hopefuls and wannabes. This was the real thing and they knew it.

The band, the KC Quartet, were tight and professional and could grace any stage.

Cadogan was supported by Nicole Graham and Betty Payne, who opened the evening with a wonderful rendition of Cheek to Cheek with its immortal line I’m in Heaven.  For jazz lovers under a clear, Caribbean sky with palm trees swaying in a cool sea breeze, it was difficult to imagine yourself anywhere else.

Kellie Cadogan sings Ella Fitzgerald

Kellie Cadogan “What if…”

 

Betty Payne “I’m in Heaven”

Barbados knows how to put on a good show – particularly a musical one. Music is in the country’s DNA. You’ll find it in the schools, the colleges and the churches. Perhaps it is an expression of a free and floating spirit.

High-spirited second segment

But it is also symptomatic of hard work and dedication. The Barbados Community College has a musical programme which encourages young people to get involved in all aspects of the performance.

And events like the Honey Jazz Festival, which raises funds to support the island’s emerging artists, provide more opportunities.

Cadogan is inspired by Fitzgerald’s range, improvisational skills and “her warm disposition when performing”. So it was no surprise that she called the high-spirited second segment of the show What If…. “What if,” she said, “Ella Fitzgerald came to Barbados.”

Well, if you closed your eyes on Thursday night, you would be forgiven for thinking she had.

Tickets ($75Bds) are still available via ticketpal.com for the Honey Jazz Gala Concert at the Frank Collymore Hall this Saturday, January 28th, which is followed by an after-concert lime on the terrace.

The festival’s final event is after the polo at Holders Hill on Sunday.