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BARBADOS - Jazz 2008

Compliments of the Barbados Nation News

GEORGE DUKE and Giovanni Hidalgo will be two of the featured artistes performing at the sixth annual FirstCaribbean Christmas Jazz show which kicks off next Sunday at the Plantation Garden Theatre.

Duke, a piano and a synthesizer pioneer and singer made a name for himself with the album The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience With The George Duke Trio. He is known for his solo work as well as for his collaborations with other musicians, particularly Frank Zappa.

Duke has produced five Grammy award-winning albums including Dianne Reeves' The Calling and Natalie Cole's Teach Me Tonight.

Duke's other high-profile collaborators include Al Jarreau, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Stanley Clarke, Cannonball Adderley, Deniece Williams, Jeffrey Osborne, George Clinton, Anita Baker, Rachelle Ferrell, Marilyn Scott, and Mike Mainieri's fusion group, Steps Ahead.

He also served as a producer and composer for two instrumental tracks on Miles Davis' albums: Backyard Ritual and Cobra. He has also worked with a number of notable Brazilian musicians, including singer Milton Nascimiento, percussionist Airto Moreira and singer Flora Purim.

Duke has also worked as musical director at numerous large scale musical events, including the Nelson Mandela tribute concert at Wembley Stadium, London, in 1988. The following year he temporarily replaced Marcus Miller as musical director of NBC's acclaimed late-night music performance programme, Sunday Night, during its first season.

Duke's songs have also been used by a wide variety of contemporary musicians in a wide array of genres.

Recently, Duke worked with Jill Scott on the third single from her sophomore album Whenever You're Around.

Puerto Rican-born Giovanni Hidalgo, who began playing percussion at the age of five, was born into a family of musicians. Giovanni first played on a set of congas handcrafted by his father, Jose "Mane & ntilde;gue" Hidalgo. He also practised on other percussion instruments, developing the lightning precision technique for which he is noted today.

Giovanni first became popular outside of Puerto Rico in the early 1980s when travelling to Cuba to work with the group Batacumbele. Hidalgo then appeared on Batacumele's debut album showing off his incredible hand-drumming technique. Inspired by his method, Cuban musicians incorporated it into their own hybrid musical style called Songo.

While performing with Eddie Palmieri in New York, Giovanni forged another life-long friendship, this time with Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he toured in 1988 as a member of Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra. He has also toured extensively with Tito Puente and Mickey Hart's Planet Drum, and has performed with the likes of Dave Valentin, Paquito d'Rivera, and Carlos Santana. (PR)



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