Back home, I use to live by show business. Being a lighting technician, I had the chance to be part of great
productions such as Celine Dion, ACDC, and many summer and winter festivals like
the Montreal Jazz Festival. When I was offered to cover the 11th
Riviera Maya Jazz festival, I couldn't say no. It was like going back to my
roots, and it felt amazing.
The production team did a fantastic job, from
start to finish. Every day, a press conference was set up for the media so we
could could meet every band and get a good feeling of what they would offer to
the public that same night.
Mamita's beach welcomed us on the powdery soft
white sand beach with very well organized facilities. The first night's venue
was a seemingly full house, with thousands of people sitting on the beach. Some
of them were well prepared and set up with makeshift tables and camping chairs;
others were spread out picnic-style with blankets on the sand. We could
easily maneuver the crowd and see each show perfectly.
From a technical point of view, the lighting
and sound were beautifully designed to fit this outside venue. Even though most
of the nights were windy with a mix of light and heavy rains, we could hear
every note of the spectacular jazz music clearly and see every movement on the grandiose
stage that was set up in only a few days.
The lineup of artists were as eclectic as
Playa del Carmen is, with musicians like Ed Motta, a
Brazilian jazz, soul, and funk musician known worldwide. Winner of a Latin
Grammy Award, he produced his first album when he was only 16 years old. He
closed the second night with his robustly smooth voice, and warmed up
the crowd as the rain became heavier, but he certainly ended the evening on a high
note. Jim Beard, a contemporary jazz
musician from Philly was up next. His jazz sounds blended perfectly with those of the waves, only a few meters away. First on stage that night, Scott Henderson,
Jeff Berlin, and Dennis Chamber were reunited. Those three great musicians gave us
a blend of jazz and rock & roll moments with guitar, drum, and bass solos,
which gave an interesting edge to the night.
The closing night of the 11th Riviera Maya Jazz Festival was a great mix of genres and kept the crowd up and dancing most of
the night. Celso Piña opened the night with great energy. The accordion player
from Monterrey, Mexico shared the stage with six other musicians whom made the crowd bounce from start to finish. He brought smiles on every face as people
were singing his songs and dancing to the rhythm of cumbia salsa.
Matthew Garrison went up after Piña with two other amazing
musicians who were reunited for the very first time on stage. Garrison, a bass
player whose father and grand father also were bass players, lead the show.
Being a DJ in his own venue in Brooklyn, he also mixed some of his own songs on
stage. This outstanding performance of drum and bass was a success and brought a
new genre in the crowd that residents of Playa del Carmen were not accustomed to. The
intensity of each piece brought the trio to a higher level of instrumental and
The last band to close the jazz
festival was no other than Earth, Wind, & Fire. The crowd was waiting to dance
to the rhythm of R&B , Soul and Jazz and the band gave them more than they
expected. They were dressed up in shiny and disco styles of their well-known 70s era, as the beach of
Mamita´s went on fire and its crowd grooved to their classics such
as Boogie Wonderland and Let´s Groove, along with many other top hits. Each member had an impressive energy
on stage and did not seem they have aged a bit. Even if the rain was still
present at some point, the crowd never lost their sense of being taken by the music.
Every year the Riviera Maya keeps growing and
impressing, and this year´s jazz festival edition brought it to a higher level.
We can´t wait to see who will be part of this well-organized production next
year. In the meantime, keep enjoying numerous multicultural events that are certain to attract a new kind of tourist; Music lovers.
Article written by Andrea Ruiz Perron, BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors.
Photo Credits by Lisa Love Juliot, BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors.