"Music legend Jay Douglas brings his reggae and R&B repertoire to Glenn Gould Studio"

by Edward Brown

Any attempts to place creative limits onJay Douglas, the Jamaican-born, Toronto based recording artist and 2012 Harry Jerome Award recipient are futile. The dynamic performer's musical landscape knows no boundaries. Consider his inclusion of Leonard Cohen's oft covered classic, Hallelujah, on the 2011 Juno nominated CD, Lover's Paradise.

Cohen had a megahit in 1984 with the folk-rock ballad, now a recording industry standard. Since then, the song has been covered nearly to death, with everyone from k.d. lang to an obscure Norwegian quartet recording a version. The song's originator has even come out and said enough is enough, placing an unofficial moratorium on future cover versions of his song.

It takes a musical innovator like Jay Douglas to successfully reinterpret Hallelujah with a fresh reggae beat. Judging from the positive response this version has garnered, it's safe to assume Cohen would make an exception this one time.

Jay Douglas has been part of the Canadian music scene since the early 1960s. In his trademark leather cap and ready grin, he shows no signs of slowing. Equally proficient performing R&B standards, funk, reggae, soul, big band classics, Motown, and top 40 hits, he is Canada's version of the hardest working man in show business. As agile as Jagger, Douglas's stage presence has been compared to the late godfather of soul, James Brown.

Arriving in Toronto from his hometown of Montego Bay in 1963, it wasn't long before Douglas was performing to sellout crowds in fabled Toronto nightclubs like Club Blue Note and Le Coq d'Or. Back then, he fronted The Cougars. Beloved blues songstress, Jackie Richardson was among the members.

Douglas went on to record, write, tour, and perform with a number of entertainers. He has shared the stage with everyone from reggae and jazz guitarist/composer Ernest Ranglin, to Pee-Wee Ellis and comedian Don Harron. When approached by US-based Light In The Attic Records, Douglas became the driving force behind the 2006 compilation, Jamaica to Toronto Project. Since release, the CD has rekindled interest in reggae artists once thought lost to time.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements in entertainment, Jay Douglas received the prestigious 2012 Harry Jerome Award.

Besides an ongoing weekly gig at the cozy Snug Harbour Restaurant in Port Credit, Douglas has an exciting concert date set for May 18th (2012) at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Complete with a 12 piece band and string section, this concert promises to be a blockbuster performance. Word is, Douglas has been busy rehearsing a number of his favourite R&B classics.

With an eclectic repertoire at his disposal, audience members are in for a fantastic show, plus a surprise or two. Fans wouldn't expect anything less from Canada's reigning monarch of music.

Original Article at SWAY MAGAZINE