Jazz in Trance is Cayman’s newest “Big Band”. A big band is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. And boy that rhythm section was on fire. Big bands became popular in the 1930s swing era and are still very much appreciated today.

When I pulled into the jammed packed parking lot, I knew I wasn’t the only one filled with anticipation for a great night. The group led by its leader Denys Carbo, Saxophonist and composer delivered a sound that left the audience fully satiated. This was evidenced by the unmoving audience when the set extended close to 2 hours. When was the last time you attended an orchestra where the leader also played? Well, the multi-talented Denys was did both so seamlessly to our great joy as he is such a magnificent Saxophonist!

Who is Jazz in Trance?

Jazz in Trance is a local big band that performs jazz pieces from the 1930’s through to today. The band’s makeup while all locally based artist is quite international. They perform a range of styles from classic big band favorites to swing, blues and Latin and Caribbean music. The band also performs contemporary jazz tunes including big band sounds from the movies and television shows.

For this event they presented a wide range of South American influenced music, with a particular focus on music from Brazil.

A night under the stars

Due to covid regulations, this year’s festival is held mostly outdoors. And we were kept cool with a lovely breeze all night. This is for sure my favourite time to enjoy the Cayman Islands outdoors. The stage was set, and the lawns of the National Gallery was beautifully decorated for the night.

The Programme

The three-part set started with an introduction medley/warmup that set the stage for what to expect for the night from the band. They started the set with hits, One more once and Caribe, by Michel Camilo. It was a handclapping, foot stomping first set that surprised me no one was up dancing. They then slowed things down with a bit of blues, Mercy Mercy Mercy led by Andre on double bass. Denys then increased the tempo with a few more numbers to close out the first set.

While the band took a break, we were entertained by the Jazz in Trance Quartet for the second set. The final set comprised popular hits from James Brown, Miles Davis, and Gordon Goodwinn. In the set was a piece by Cuban jazz legend, Paquito de Rivera, ‘To Brenda with love’. To Brenda with love is a fusion of jazz and classical music, originally a samba in honor of his wife. I have tried not to overuse the word talented but what a talented group!

About the Cayman Arts Festival

The Cayman Arts Festival concept was formed in 2001 and incorporated in 2003.  The brainchild of piano duo Jennifer Micallef and Glen Inanga.  The usual 10-day festival will be offered in a longer format this year.  The original format of the festival would see the specially invited international guests. However, this year the festival will feature all locally based talent. A testament to the success of the programme that is heavily mentor and education based. You can catch my review of last week’s event ‘CayForte String Quartet” on the blog or the Cayman Arts Festival page.

Horns, Strings, Drums, Keys and all that Jazz in Trance

One of the great things about this pandemic is the opportunity to pivot. I believe that was the most used word last year. However, from that the Cayman Arts Festival is putting together a show that is worthy of international acclaim. This year’s festival which will feature all locally based talent and so far, I am totally impressed.

Look out for their next event, “Algorithms” a documentary screening at the Camana Bay Cinema on Tuesday March 8th, 6pm – 7:30pm. Tickets available at Camana Bay Cinema or can be purchased online HERE as well. Hope to see you there.

Were you at the show on last Thursday? What were your views on the band Jazz in Trance?