What happens when an acclaimed American jazz singer takes the stage with an award-winning Jamaican writer? They produce an innovative art called Jamericazz© - short stories interpreted on the spot and turned into original, unforgettable music.
Vocalist Denise King and author Alecia McKenzie, SWAN’s editor, met at an event organized by a mutual friend in Paris, France. McKenzie was asked to read one of her short stories, and she consented, but only if King would sing as well.
And so, Jamericazz© was born. The artists perform without rehearsing or even knowing in advance what each other will do. McKenzie, who has won two Commonwealth literary prizes, reads her stories, and King, who has graced stages around the world, improvises based on the reading.
The artists officially launched the exciting project at Waterstones bookstore in Brussels, Belgium, on June 28 to much appreciation, in the presence of the Jamaican Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union. The performance followed a poetic introduction by Patricia Viseur Sellers, a renowned American international lawyer and lecturer, who said: “In the beginning there was the word, and also the sound.”
Literature and jazz. Word and song. Jamericazz© is a celebration of oral storytelling and improvisation, key elements of both Caribbean and African-American culture. The artists plan to take the project to schools, bookstores and jazz clubs in different countries.