Redon takes the Spotlight – Trinidad Guardian

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…helps launch Eth­nic Jazz Club’s 15th sea­son
by
Pe­ter Ray Blood
Dou­glas “Dougie” Re­don is de­scribed as “a ver­sa­tile Caribbean mu­si­cian from the twin is­land re­pub­lic of T&T.” Born in Dere Street, Port-of-Spain, Re­don grew up on Luc­know Street, St James, but de­fines him­self as “a bona fide Wood­brook man.” Re­don’s mu­si­cal ca­reer spans three decades, be­gin­ning as a mem­ber of the Phase II Pan Groove Steel Or­ches­tra in 1975 un­der the mu­si­cal di­rec­tion of Len “Boogsie” Sharpe.
The Scor­pio-born mu­si­cian had his school­ing at New­town Boys’ and St Do­minic’s Savoi Boys’ School in Bel­mont. From a child, Re­don had a love for mu­sic and said: “As a boy I had a cu­a­tro but used to end up play­ing bass lines, ac­com­pa­ny­ing my el­der broth­er who dab­bled with chords. In Phase II, I was in­flu­enced to learn the bass by bassists like Andy Phillips. I was al­so heav­i­ly in­flu­enced mu­si­cal­ly by Boogsie’s style of ar­rang­ing; by his spon­ta­neous man­ner of re­lat­ing to mu­sic. Every­thing Boogsie does is so per­fect. Even if he makes a mis­take, it is cor­rect.”
Re­don is a not a meat-eater and his pref­er­ence re­mains seafood, with some “blue food.”
His in­tro­duc­tion to steel­pan be­gan with the dou­ble tenors, even­tu­al­ly find­ing his forte on the dou­ble sec­ond pan. Al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly he be­gan play­ing the elec­tric bass gui­tar, and from 1985 to 2003 he was res­i­dent bassist with the pop­u­lar group An­dre Tanker and One World Con­tra­band.
He has per­formed ex­ten­sive­ly both on the bass gui­tar and pan at fes­ti­vals and con­certs. These per­for­mances in­clude C’mac, Vieux Forte and Jazz a la Plan­ta­tion fes­ti­vals in Mar­tinique, Jazz Plaza in Cu­ba, The Green Moon Fes­ti­val in San An­dres, Colom­bia and jazz fes­ti­vals in An­tigua, Bar­ba­dos, St Lu­cia and Grena­da.
Re­don has ac­com­pa­nied many in­ter­na­tion­al­ly renowned per­form­ers, in­clud­ing Sharpe, Robert Greenidge, Clive Zan­da, Vaugh­nette Big­ford, Pat­ti Rogers, Car­o­line Mair, Eti­enne Charles, Gene Lawrence, To­by To­bas, Rudy Smith, Theron Shaw, An­nise Hadeed, Liam Teague, Chan­tal Es­delle, Ruth Os­man, Michael Boot­man, El­la An­dall, Ar­turo Tap­pin, Dan­ish sax­o­phon­ist Hol­ger Lau­mann, Ernest Ran­glin, TK Blue with Randy We­st­on, Ken Philmore and Andy Nar­rell.
He is un­able to pick a favourite jazz mu­si­cian, but named Char­lie Park­er, Son­nt Stitt and Kei­th Ger­rard among his favourites. He is equal­ly hard pressed to name his favourite jazz song, but loves to play An­dre Tanker’s Tell Me Where We Go­ing.
A lover of ca­lyp­so, Spar­row and Kitch­en­er top the list of Re­don’s favourite ca­lyp­so­ni­ans. He al­so ad­mires Machel Mon­tano and said: “Machel is a smart guy giv­ing his mu­sic that in­ter­na­tion­al ap­peal. He un­der­stands the mu­sic.” As with jazz, Re­don has sev­er­al ‘favourite’ ca­lyp­soes.
He has al­so per­formed in France, Eng­land, Puer­to Ri­co, Guade­loupe, New York, and Cal­i­for­nia. He’s per­formed in at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Ten­nessee; at Ep­cott Cen­tre–Dis­ney World in Flori­da, and he’s per­formed in Japan thrice–at Hol­land Vil­lage in Na­gasa­ki, the Ocean Dome in Miyaza­ki and the Co­colo­co Club in Shin­ju-Ku, Tokyo.
A much sought-af­ter free­lance mu­si­cian for sev­er­al lo­cal groups, Re­don is in­volved in youth camps, teach­ing the range of pans to chil­dren. Ar­rang­ing to the steel­band since the late 90s, Re­don cut his teeth in this dis­ci­pline with Wood­brook Mod­er­naires. At present, he is arranger for Har­vard Harps Steel Or­ches­tra and The Chi­nese Bi­cen­ten­ni­al Steel­band En­sem­ble. He is al­so a co-founder of Ta­ban­ca The Blues Band, an ini­tia­tive con­cep­tu­alised by Dan­ish gui­tarist An­ders Kap­pel.
Al­so a past arranger for Curepe Scherzan­do, Re­don en­joys a very good and pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with Har­vard Harps as the band’s mu­si­cal di­rec­tor. He said: “I would like Har­vard Harps to reach the high­est stan­dard of play­ing pan. We boast that T&T is the land of the steel­band, but we have a se­ri­ous prob­lem in that we have a short­age of com­pe­tent play­ers. Where are the play­ers?”
Re­don joined Chan­tal Es­delle’s Moyenne in 2003 and record­ed on her first live CD–Im­bi­zo Moyenne. He has toured twice with Moyenne, at the fes­ti­val Jazz Plaza in Cu­ba and at shows in Mi­a­mi and Ja­maica.
“What I like about Moyenne,” said Re­don, “is that they play a lot of orig­i­nals. This is very good for a lo­cal band as so many bands play stan­dards and cov­ers. A very good vibe ex­ists amongst the play­ers.”
He has al­so done orig­i­nals, in­clud­ing Blues for Sails, Go­ing South, One for Sil­ver, Sac­carine and Those Danc­ing Days. His mu­si­cal com­po­si­tions re­flect the in­flu­ence of jazz with pan and Caribbean melodies, al­though he has on­ly ex­posed these on the Trinidad stage.
Re­don will be a head­line act with Moyenne to­day at the launch of the Eth­nic Jazz Club’s 15th sea­son at Jaf­fa @ The Oval. Din­ner will be served at 7 pm by Chef Joe Brown of Soli­mar fame.

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