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SUNSET JAZZ: V.I. ART ENSEMBLE AND A SECOND TAKE

Jan. 14, 2004 – This weekend, jazz lovers on St. Croix get the sweet treat of not one Sunset Jazz in Frederiksted concert but two — even though there's a bittersweet twist.
Making the music for Friday's regularly scheduled Sunset Jazz in Frederiksted concert from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Veterans Park will be the popular St. Croix group V.I. Art Ensemble.
Founded nine years ago, the ensemble is led by bassist Fred Williams and also includes Benjamin Jacobs-El on piano, William Thorpe on baritone saxophone, Pikey Copemann on tenor sax, Marcus Rabb on trumpet, Dave McKean on drums, Rene Encarnacion on congas and Junie Bomba on bongos and percussion.
And then on Saturday, same time, same place, there'll be a concert showcasing Eddie Russell on trumpet, Greg Bennerson on steelpan, Ronnie Russell on guitar, Antoine Clarke on piano, Devin Carrington on bass, Bobby Richards on drums and Ray Iles on congas.
The Saturday program was put together by the sponsoring Frederiksted Economic Development Association as a special treat for the passengers and crew of the Radisson Diamond cruise ship — as well as the local community.
Word came on Wednesday that the ship had canceled its scheduled Saturday call at St. Croix, reportedly because of ongoing problems of untreated sewage in the Frederiksted public beach and pier areas. However, the Saturday concert is still on (and so is the Friday one), the promoters announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Sunset Jazz in Frederiksted, presented by FEDA, is held on the third Friday of each month in Veterans Park along the waterfront in downtown Frederiksted. The title ties in to the timing and the setting — the sun slips beneath the horizon somewhere in that two-hour period pretty much all year 'round, and the waterfront affords a spectacular view as it does.
Admission is free, and with its early evening hours, Sunset Jazz in Frederiksted is a family-oriented affair. Attendees are encouraged to being folding chairs or blankets to sit on. F.E.D.A. operates a cash bar, with proceeds going toward the costs of producing the jazz programs, and Hispanos Unidos sells food to raise funds for its community outreach projects.
Concertgoers also are encouraged to stay downtown after the music's over, to dine and/or enjoy the Frederiksted night life.
Coming up on the next two months: The featured artist for Feb. 20 will be announced. Bassist Neil Simon will head the March 19 program. For more information, e-mail to Sunset Jazz, or call 775-1404 or 772-0069.

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