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Beyond the stellar line-up, when people ask: “What makes the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival so special?” The answer is easy: location, location, location – Saint Lucia is paradise. I get to experience paradise one morning when my group sails to the southwest shore to see the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pitons, with two volcanic plugs that rise like spires from the sea. From there, I hike the Tet Paul Nature Trail to the lookout where on a clear day you can see both Martinique and St. Vincent. Nearby, the ‘World’s Only Drive-In Volcano’ and Sulphur Springs, is a chance to take a dip in a volcanic mud bath followed by a short drive to Toraille Waterfall for a rigorous massage under a 50-foot waterfall. I also visit historical Pigeon Island and the ruins of the British base from the late 18th century give insight into the lives of both soldiers and slaves. On another day, I take a trip to the Castries market, Derek Walcott Square and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, one of the largest churches in the Caribbean.

JALC INSTRUCTOR TEACHING STUDENTS ©JALC

Premier Collaboration I had an opportunity to speak with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Director of Programming and Touring Jason Olaine about the collaboration. Here’s what he said: “This year we ha(d) workshops and master classes from Wednesday though Saturday free to the public, hosted by our artists in residence, who range from Christian McBride to Russell Hall, Patrick Bartley and Etienne Charles talking about how they got into jazz, the business of jazz, jazz and Caribbean music, the birth of jazz and how to listen to jazz – all sorts of different ways these artists in residence have been bringing jazz to the public, to small kids, the general public, adults, etc. Even though this festival has been around for 27 years, we want this festival to grow. They kind of shifted away from jazz so if they want to come back to jazz, we are more than happy and willing to help them get on their feet and move forward. We hope this is the first year of many years of collaboration.”

COUPLE GETTING PAINTED AT THE VOLCANIC MUD BATHS ©KRIS KING

SIX TIME GRAMMY WINNER CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE ©JALC

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Ensemble Vacations Fall 2019