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Boogsie jumps high

By Joan Rampersad Monday, March 3 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Winning Groove: Len 'Boogise' Sharpe skips along to Phase II Pan Groove's winning performance of 'Jump High' at the Panorama (large band) finals, Quee...
Winning Groove: Len 'Boogise' Sharpe skips along to Phase II Pan Groove's winning performance of 'Jump High' at the Panorama (large band) finals, Quee...

After the semi-finals of the 2014 National Panorama competition two weeks ago, arranger for then top placed band Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, Leon “Smooth” Edwards, proclaimed there were four former champions within striking distance, boldly declaring, “Bring it on!”

And indeed, that’s what one of the “big guns” did at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain on Saturday night, when ace arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe led Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove to a second consecutive victory, and its sixth national title, beating All Stars into the runner-up spot by one point.

Phase II previously scored back-to-back wins in 1987-1988 and 2005-2006.

Sharpe conducted his players in their fantastic performance of his song “Jump High”, co-written with Andre Rojas and sung by Destra Garcia, who waved the flag for the band, and had the crowd applauding wildly at the end of it all. They amassed 287 points to take the crown and the $1 million winner’s purse.

Asked yesterday how he felt about the band retaining the title, Sharpe, who has stated before that he works best when under pressure, said, “It’s a great feeling. My back was up against the wall so I went back to the drawing board and did what I had to do.”

Boogsie thanked all those who had a hand in the win including songwriter/arranger/producer Leston Paul, Garcia, Rojas, drillers, tuners, supporters, members and sponsors Petrotrin.

All Stars, which led the semis with its performance of “Excitement” written by Clive Telemaque and sung by Shirlane Hendrickson, delivered another spirited performance that earned them 286 points, and second place, as well as $700,000.

But while diehard All Stars fans were absolutely thrilled with the performance, many more in the crowd were muttering that the running of the scales by the band has been its modus operandi for the past decade and felt it was nothing new.

However, commenting on the band’s relegation to second berth, Edwards said, “I am totally satisfied with All Stars Performance. They did what they were supposed to do and did it like true champions, and achieved the objective as the number one performer.”

He congratulated Sharpe on his win as well as the 21 bands in the large and medium categories which made it to the finals. He said, “They are all champions. I commend them for keeping the standard of music so high.”

Edwards lamented the long hours of the event stating something definitely needs to be done because it’s too draining on players.

The show began at 7 pm on Saturday with ten medium bands. The last band in the large category, bp Renegades struck its final note at 4.11 am yesterday, and results were delivered at 4.35 am.

Renegades’ performance of the Original De Fosto’s (Winston Scarborough) “In De Minor” was to all who remained to hear them, vintage Renegades. At the end of their performance, their fans, as well as others at the Savannah were convinced they had their 10th title in the bag. But not so convinced were the judges who placed them third with 283 points.

Arranger Duvonne Stewart said afterwards, “I thought I had it. I did what I had to do, and did my best. The band and I were comfortable and very happy about what we did. So we were disappointed with the results. At the end of the day only one band can win so we will just shake off the result and come back next year with more venom. It will be an additional incentive.”

The band took away $650,000.

But all was not lost for Stewart this year who stated that 2014 will always be a memorable one for him. He was of course referring to the fact that he arranged for the winning Single Pan band, San Juan East Side Symphony and winning Medium Band, Pan Elders.

Fourth placed Witco Desperadoes with 281 points also had a solid performance of Robert Greenidge’s arrangement of Superblue’s (Austin Lyons) “Spankin”, certainly capturing the sweetness of the song.

In fifth position was Republic Bank Exodus which garnered 279 points with their Pelham Goddard arrangement of his song “Pan Is Carnival”, co-written by Alvin Daniell and sung by Roderick “Chucky” Gordon. The band was second in the semis.

Both Greenidge and Goddard said they felt they needed to move on to other things as they did not know what else to do to gain the judges’ nod of approval.

Greenidge, who left Trinidad yesterday for a two-week Australian tour with the Jimmy Buffet band, said, “The results are final and whatever they decide, that is it. I am moving on to another page because I don’t know what we did wrong.”

Similarly Goddard stated, “Anything I try it’s not working. After placing second in the semi-final, we did all that work, tried different rhythms, chords, scales. They didn’t hear that? Everything was good and to be placed fifth? That’s not encouraging. Pan is town.”

He was noting that the first four bands are from Port-of-Spain. Adjudicators in the large band category were Lambert Phillip, Stephanie Power, Roger Sardinha, Lennox London, Jeanette Johnson and Andy Chichester.

The judging criteria was 40 points for arrangement, 40 points for general performance, ten points for tone and ten points for rhythm.

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