Jazz fans -caught up in the rapture of Anita Bakers' soul


By: Kaylia Williams
Photography By: Milton Raynor


Anita Baker the queen of soul is known to please her patrons wherever she goes; she did not disappoint her fans at the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival on Thursday night. Patrons who filled the Aqueduct at Rose Hall in Montego Bay, harboured melted souls when the queen made her entrance on stage and they shouted for more hits from her repertoire at the set's end. After demanding and being graced with this encore, the audience went wild, screaming Anita's hit, "Giving You The Best That I Got."

Making every effort to continue pleasing the crowd, Anita asked, "Do want the 'F' song," to a resounding yes from one and all. And she delivered melodiously, leaving patrons mesmerized and thinking about "Fairy Tales." If that wasn't enough she wooed especially the men with her 1994 hit "Body and Soul," giving way to lovers' screams of her 1986 hit, "Sweet love."


Lively MC Richie B, shared with the audience news on the 'Queen of Soul' – Anita's upcoming 50th Birthday celebration on Saturday. The announcement prompted patrons into sing "Happy Birthday." Our very own Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett, presented the songstress with a cake and red roses.


Proceeding with her act patrons got 'Caught Up In The Rapture' and her
final departure was heartbreaking for fans who still wanted more. As Anita thanked Buzz Production for the great audio and their technical excellence, patrons were still screaming for more and MC Richie B tried to regain calm. He shouted "What's the word? If I spell it you call it M-O-R-E." The crowd thought they were about to receive a second encore performance, but Richie B told them "I don't know if she came prepared for this, she came she sang and she conquered." The queen Anita exited the stage with her roses, all smiles.


Then newly named JT Taylor formerly known as "the legendary voice" from Kool and the Gang tried to please the crowd that had become scanty, as the majority left the venue before he even hit the stage. Many were disgruntled and wondering why Anita Baker did not close the show. One patron expressed to YardFlex "A who dem tink a stay yah after Anita jus mash up di place." By the time JT Taylor made his entrance on stage one could nearly hand count the patrons left in The Aqueduct. Still there were some avid fans who sang along with him to hits like, "Get Down On It," "Ladies Night" and "Cherish." Despite the scanty crowd, JT gave a well rehearsed performance. During the song "Cherish" his female back up singers came out wearing wedding gowns, but not even that moved the souls of the few patrons there, to react exuberantly.


Opening acts for the night were youngster Jessica Yapp and A.J Brown, who were both on point. The experienced AJ Brown, whose electrifying performance included a slamming rendition of Tepartiro's "Time To Say Goodbye," also introduced songs from his new CD titled, "Signs Of Love."


Jessica Yapp created personal history that night by interacting with the audience. Never have I seen or heard of the young violinist speaking on stage before and patrons were in awe as she introduced her songs and band. She melodiously played Bob Marley's "Jammin," which led MC Richie B to ask, "Do you think she is really 14 years old?"

In all fairness the night belonged to Anita Baker 'the queen of soul,' who stole the hearts of many patrons at Rose Hall. I myself am still caught up in Anita's soulful rapture.