A new 20-piece band featuring three generations of musicians of all colours drawn from diverse sectors of the jazz community with vocals, five saxophones, four trumpets, and four trombones and a rhythm section of double bass, piano, drums, guitar and percussion. Featured artists have included Denys Baptiste, Juliet Roberts, Andy Sheppard, Guy Barker, Claude Deppa, Abram Wilson, Soweto Kinch, Ashley Slater, Annie Whitehead, Orphy Robinson, Alex Wilson
Jazz Jamaica All Stars is the first formally structured big band to play this particular blend of jazz. They reflect the Caribbean music tradition and demonstrate in vibrant and exuberant form its massive contribution to a living, constantly changing jazz tradition.
Jazz Jamaica All Stars released their début album, Massive (Dune Records DUNECD06) in October 2001 to immense critical acclaim and earned a place in the Top Ten Albums Of The Year in top critics’ ratings (The Guardian/The Times). In July 2002, Gary was presented with the BBC Radio Jazz Award for Best Band for Jazz Jamaica All Stars. Also in July 2002, he received an award from Jamaican music legends and Ocho Rios Jazz Festival directors, Sonny Bradshaw OD and Myrna Hague for Consistent Contribution to Music In Jamaica, earning him a place in the Jamaica Jazz Hall of Fame.
After more successful touring in 2003, 2004 saw Jazz Jamaica All Stars collaborating with one of the iconic figures in South African culture, Hugh Masekela in an exciting project to mark the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa. The music, specially arranged by saxophonist Jason Yarde, featured some of Masekela’s most evocative pieces as well as other seminal songs of freedom such as those by Bob Marley. A whirlwind of Caribbean and South African grooves! Vocal duties were shared by Juliet Roberts and Masekela, as well as massed choirs from East London schools – the culmination of an extensive education project commissioned by the City of London Festival and run by members of Jazz Jamaica All Stars and Masekela.
Jazz Jamaica All Stars and Hugh Masekela toured the UK and made a special appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague in June/July 2004
In 2007, Jazz Jamaica headlined the Dune Music 10th Anniversary concert at a sold-out Royal Festival Hall, London featuring Gary’s uncle, the great Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin, eminent Jamaican pianist and ethnomusicologist Marjorie Whylie, and Jamaica’s first lady of Jazz and Studio 1 vocal pioneer, Myrna Hague.
Since then, the band has toured a variety of sets including Motorcity Roots, Tighten Up! (a tribute to Trojan Records), and The Blue Note Blue Beat.
In late 2012, Gary reassembled his all star big band, Jazz Jamaica All Stars to headline the Lively Up! Festival marking 50 Years of Jamaican independence. In fact, more than reassembling the band, he supersized it with the addition of a strings section from Urban Soul Orchestra and reggae star, Brinsley Forde. Jazz Jamaica All Stars saluted the global and iconic superstars, Bob Marley and The Wailers in a massive musical extravaganza paying tribute to their seminal album, Catch A Fire on a fantastic tour of eight UK cities that saw the band working also with a range of community gospel choirs.