“boss” is a colloquial term in Trinidad and Tobago that is used to indicate that a person is really good at what they are doing. Natasha Joseph is a recognized jazz pannist from Trinidad and Tobago.
I’ve been to a few performances where I was not particularly moved. I could notice that the loud cheers made by the audience at such performances could be attributed more to the social relationship between the audience and the performer than to the mastery displayed in the musician’s actual performance. I was able to notice that this was not the case at Natasha Joseph’s performance at a little fundraiser in Federation Park, St. Clair, Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday 17th April. The fifty people who heard Natasha Joseph responded first with awed silence and then delight.
At this gathering Natasha played the double second/alto pan. It’s important to note this since she could just as easily have played another pan or even the guitar. Her solos were greeted with open jaws, sighs and exclamations. She expertly navigated the chord changes of every song from St. Thomas to the Girl from Ipanema (and we know that’s a hard one). I’ve seen Trinidadian writers print statements similar to mine about others, pannists in particular, and wondered, “What are they talking about?” I can assure you this is not the case with Natasha. I happened to be playing with her and so I was in a place where I really could appreciate what she played and how she played it. And I can also note that I am not the first to notice it. She has been one of the most significant solo pannists for at least a decade.
Even though Natasha could not raise enough funds to accept the position offered to her at Berklee it is clear that her hours of ear training and self-study have placed her a cut above, or perhaps many cuts above the average. Look out, or should I say, listen out for this woman. She is working with and, no doubt arranging for Steel Explosion for the Tobago Jazz Experience and if you are in Trinidad she has promised to stop by our Sunday Session at James Place (51 Cornelio Street Woodbrook, Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad). You can always check the Ethnic Jazz Club page on Facebook for details about this.
I hope that sometime soon she produces an album worthy of her “worth and stature.”