TO's Magic goes to Jamaica Jazz and Blues Fest

Toronto is injecting a bit of Magic into the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival this year.
Toronto is injecting a bit of Magic into the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival this year.

Toronto reggae fusion band Magic is headed for Jamaica for the annual Jazz and Blues Festival from Jan. 29 to 31 at Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium.

The festival is headlined by American Grammy-winning megastar Mariah Carey, former Gap Band singer Charlie Wilson, Peter Cetera, formerly of Chicago, The Pointer Sisters, American reggae band SOJA, Barbadian sax man Arturo Tappin, Jamaicans Richie Stephens and sibling band Morgan Heritage.

Magic is the first Canadian band in a decade to hit the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. Their single Rude has ruled the top spot for three weeks since becoming the first Canadian reggae track to hold the title since Snow’s Informer in 1992.

The group is comprised of four members; Nasri Atweh- lead vocals and guitar; Mark Pellizzer – guitar and vocals; Ben Spivak – bass and backing vocals and Alex Tanas – drums and backing vocals. All are originally from the Toronto area.

Nasri has worked with and written songs for different pop acts prior to the start of the band, mainly alongside Adam Messinger, together known as The Messengers. Of his current bandmates, Nasri said in an online bio: “We know the same streets and we grew up on the same music. It’s the real thing.”

They released their debut single Rude on Oct. 12, 2013. The song peaked at number six on the Canadian Hot 100 and also proved a great international success, topping the charts in the U.S. and U.K. and peaking within the top 10 of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Don’t Kill the Magic was released as the second single from the album on April 4, 2014, peaking at 22 on the Canadian Hot 100 and 53 in Australia. The band released their debut album Don’t Kill the Magic on June 30. The album peaked at number five on the Canadian Albums Chart and six on the Billboard 200.

Magic is featured on Shakira’s Cut Me Deep, a track from her self-titled album, released in March 2014 and on One Love, One Rhythm, the official 2014 FIFA World Cup album, with the track This Is Our Time (Agora é a Nossa Hora). They are also featured on Sun Goes Down, on David Guetta’s album Listen. On New Year’s Eve, Magic performed at Times Square in New York City.

Alter Elmore, executive producer of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, is confident his line-up for this year rivals similar festivals worldwide. “This is nothing short of spectacular,” Elmore told the Sunday Observer.

“When you look at this roster, the artists have a total of about 100 hit songs … Where are you going to find this package for this price? You will have a Mariah Carey concert, and a Peter Cetera concert, but to have them on one event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

He said in the 20 years he has been associated with the show, only two other years have given him the buzz he feels about this year’s show.

The event producer still has a wish list of acts he would love to see on the Jazz and Blues stage in Jamaica. His bucket list? Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Bruno Mars and Prince.

From the Jamaican Observer and Wikipedia