Augustin ‘Jab’ Duplessis to perform at annual Music and Poetry evening

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Augustin ‘Jab’ Duplessis to perform at annual Music and Poetry evening

Augustin ‘Jab’ Duplessis will headline the annual Music and Poetry evening to be held on Wednesday, October 24th at 7.30 pm at The Pyramid, Alliance Francaise.

This is organised by the Folk Research Centre in association with Alliance Francaise as part of Creole Heritage Month activities. The 2nd annual Kweyol Performance Poetry will also be held at that event.

Jab Duplessis has just released his new CD titled “Pinnock’s Lane.” This will be on sale during the show.

Augustin ‘Jab’ Duplessis – biography

In the aspirations of an impressionable 15 year old junior bandsman in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Band, a career as clarinet player is the height of romance. Anyone from the islands know that in a laid back post colonial city, there is nothing more distinguished than a place among the crisp, uniformed ranks in the stream of military parades that punctuate the annual calendar of national observances.

By 1983, now fully ensnared by what is arguably his first serious love – the saxophone, Augustin “Jab” Duplessis had begun to anticipate ‘the possibilities’ during a summer of tuition and master classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1989, another type of tuition (from Five Towns College in Seaford, Long Island) in the repair of woodwind instruments, would qualify him to become just as sought after for his second area of skill as his first.

A senior among Jazz proponents in Saint Lucia, this ranking is by dint of accomplishment, innovation and by association with the Caribbean’s Jazz luminaries. A member of the short-lived but pioneering West Indies Jazz Band which toured Europe and the Caribbean over its three year life, Jab’s signature is on both of WIJB record compilations. He founded “Third Eye, his ensemble, in 1989, which later produce a multi-hit CD compilation “Awakening”.

In 1992 Jab was recruited into the all-star team to accompany Vincentian Calypsonian “Becket” for a Caribbean Music Festival held in Cartagena Columbia. He would retire from the Police Force in 1993, to pursue his personal ambitions as a full-time independent musician. The 1993 M&C Fine Arts Award for Best Performer in the Performing Arts category soon followed. Along with his Band, Jab has performed the Jazz Festival circuit in Saint Lucia, Martinique and England. Recognized among the East Caribbean’s foremost saxophonists, it seemed natural that he would be among those commissioned to form the Saint Lucia All Star Jazz Ensemble to perform main-stage at the 1996 Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.

His insatiable appetite for learning has placed him front row at innumerable master classes with such renowned legends like Bobby Watson (Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz), Bob Berg, Wynton Marsalis Band, Jamey Aebersold, Joe Lovano, and veteran saxophonist Lew Tabackin.

The turn of the Millennium took Jab’s group on three successive residencies at the 5 Star Carenage Bay Resort on Canouan Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where he performed alongside Grammy Award winners “Soul To Soul” and seventies icon “Clem Curtis and the Foundations.

In 2003, 12th Annual Saint Lucia Jazz Festival saw “Third Eye”, led by “Jab” and incorporating Martinique’s famous Bernard (Jazz )brothers alongside “Four Play” and “Earth Wind and Fire”, with original renditions written and arranged by “Jab”.

In 2004, now performing as the duo – “Jab and Derede”, his band took up a full-time residency at the “Raffles Resorts”, performing for an elite clientele which has included no less than Donald Trump, Bill Gates, the Prince of Saudi Arabia, and Leonardo Di Caprio. In the process the duo become synonymous with the hotel brand itself.

“Third Eye” scored the opening act for the legendary “Stylistics” at the Resort’s New Year’s celebrations for 2006/2007. As the duo, they opened for El Divo at the Prince’s Trust Charity Fund Raising Event in 2007. The subsequent year, the duo, now husband and wife, formed part of the Raffles contingent to the 6th Annual Columbian Emeralds International Barbados Polo Open held in Barbados, where they performed at the Clifton Park Polo Club. A six week stint at the luxurious Raffles Hotel in Dubai followed, and then a wedding gig in Chateau Frontenac in Quebec Canada.

A six month residency at the newly opened Raffles in Tianjin, China followed bringing with it appearances at Raffles Beijing, at the 2010 China Wine and Food Festival and the American Chamber of Commerce 4th July celebrations. Jab was featured in various magazines and promotional materials including ‘Time Out’ Tianjin, and ‘Tianjin Plus’. The duo performed as the entertainment of choice at the birthday party of Canouan Resorts villa owners in Monaco.

Fast track to 2011 and with the flute now added to Jab’s arsenal, the versatile composer and musician welcomed the invitation to do a set at the straight ahead jazz night at Saint Lucia Jazz. It was an opportunity to bring his original compositions to back to the islands, moreso his homeland, which is responsible for the distinctive creole influences in his originals.

Back home to play for the home crowd, his nephew affectionately known by all as “Pinnock” passes suddenly. Here, the pangs of childhood, of family, of small island life in a post colonial city which is barely a thumbnail on the broader tapestry of the world that is now his, the sax virtuoso rediscovers the innocence of the junior bandman from Georgeville, Castries.

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