If January was Culinary Month in Cayman, March probably should have been dubbed Music Month.
Starting with the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s three-night Celebration of Music at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and moving on to Extra – Cayman Arts 2011 on consecutive Saturdays and then to Jazz on the Green at Gaston Maloney’s Gardens last Saturday night, resident music lovers couldn’t help but be entertained. We heard professional operatic soloists singing Broadway tunes, top-notch choirs and a gospel singer that had a whole brunch crowd up dancing and singing along.
All three of the events also included jazz, somewhat filling the gap created by the cancellation of the 2010 Cayman JazzFest.
Jazz on the Green in particular brought multiple, world-class jazz artists to Cayman for a wonderful evening of music under the stars. Unlike the Cayman JazzFest, which has always included pop and R & B artists, Jazz on the Green focused on authentic jazz, albeit with a somewhat Latin American flair.
Interestingly, all three of the events were organised and produced by non-governmental entities, although Extra – Cayman Arts 2011 and Jazz on the Green both received support by the Department of Tourism. This is, in our opinion, the way it should be.
As wonderful as the 2009 Cayman JazzFest was with the Camana Bay venue and Alicia Keys headlining, the government really doesn’t need to be using large amounts of resources to produce these events. There’s nothing wrong with it supporting events from an overseas marketing standpoint – similar to the way it supports the Cayman Cookout – but if the Cayman JazzFest is to continue, it really needs a private sector partner or two to step in and do the heavy lifting, which includes funding the event.
As of now, it is still unknown if Cayman JazzFest will take place in 2011. Failing a public-private partnership arrangement, we don’t think it should, especially in these days of government austerity.
If it doesn’t, at least we all know that there are already several events established that will still bring us high quality jazz music, as amply evidenced by the unofficial March Music Month we’ve just witnessed.