The E-Park Band is so named because it was formed in 2005 specifically to perform at Emancipation Park for the NHT Christmas concert series. The band fills the void created in the Jamaican entertainment scene by the absence of a regularly performing “Big Band” while still adding more value due to its “all-star” nature. Under Musical Director Peter Ashbourne, who has unmatched credentials in pop, jazz and classical music, the groups regular instrumentation is eleven pieces – five rhythm performers and six wind instrumentalists, the smallest number of players that can successfully simulate a ‘big band’ sound. The E-Park Band’s repertoire includes - Jazz, Show, Cabaret, and Popular Music selections, both instrumental and vocal.
The groups consists of:
These are some of the very top names of Jamaican music over the last three decades and is part of the reason why the E-Park Band one of the best offerings of Jamaica’s musical landscape!
- Top vocalists Karen Smith and Michael Sean Harris;
- Hopeton Williams and Vivian Scott on trumpets;
- Romeo Gray and Calvin Cameron alternating on trombone;
- Ian Hird on alto saxophone and flute; Nicholas Laraque and Everton Gayle alternating on Tenor Saxophone and flute;
- Dean Fraser on Baritone and alto Saxophones;
- Desmond Jones on drums;
- Glen Brownie and Michael Fletcher alternating on bass;
- Dwight Pinkney on guitar;
- Othneil Lewis on keyboards; and
- Peter Ashbourne on piano and conducting.
Peter Ashbourne attended the St. Hugh’s Preparatory and Wolmer’s High School for Boys, the University of the West Indies in Kingston, the Jamaica School of Music, and has a Bachelor of Music (composition) degree from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, Mass., USA). Mr Ashbourne who holds a LRSM (Performance) diploma in violin, was considered a child prodigy on that instrument from as early as age 9. He also plays the piano. An experienced composer and performer, Ashbourne has taught at the ‘Jamaica School of Music’ in its Jazz Department from 1976 – 1979. He conducted an Art Music and Reggae Workshop at the ‘University of Music and Dramatic Arts – Graz’, Austria in 1986 and held a lecture and seminar on the ‘Development of Jamaican Popular Music, from Mento, Ska, Reggae to Dancehall’ at the ‘University of Southern Maine’, U.S.A., in spring 2007.
His lecture “Two Turning Points in Jamaican Popular Music” held at the Global Reggae Conference 2008, at the University of the West Indies was well received.
Peter Ashbourne presently teaches at the ‘School of Music - Edna Manley College’ in Kingston and has furthermore adjudicated in various institutions ranging from music schools to international song contests. He also is the arranger of songs in “tu tu tu tu”, Rosina Christina Moder’s Caribbean recorder teaching book, first published 1993.
Ashbourne has wide-ranging experience in composition for theatre and dance including: the famous ‘8 O’clock Jamaica Time’ reviews; 4 ‘LTM National Pantomimes‘ (Jamaica’s favourite annual family musical); 2 commissions for the National Dance Theatre Company; and other productions. In the fields of instrumental and choral music Peter has been just as prolific with commissions for choir, symphonic wind ensembles and chamber orchestra, as well as numerous shorter works for chamber groups, particularly string quartet, and assorted solo instruments as well as voice. The European Union Chamber Orchestra premiered his composition ‘Jubilee’ in 2004. Peter Ashbourne has also been, for more than three decades, one of Jamaica’s major composer-arrangers of commercial music, producing the music of many advertising campaigns and winning numerous awards, including the prestigious CLIO Award as Session leader/co-arranger for the 1983 ‘Air-Jamaica’ North America advertising campaign. He has been creatively involved in the production of over 700 commercial jingles.
As a film composer, he has produced the soundtrack of ‘Human Roulette’; an AIDS docu-drama produced for Jamaica and the Caribbean region and also created and produced main theme, link and incidental music for ‘Royal Palm Estate’, Jamaica’s most popular television soap opera. His composition/production ‘All Fall Down’, a single from the A.J. Brown album ‘Rhyme or Reason’, has been used in feature films, ‘The Fourth Protocol’ and ‘The Howling III’.
In the arena of popular music, Ashbourne has composed, arranged and/or produced numerous notable songs and albums including: ‘The Winds of Hope’, a 1993 JAMI Award winner for singer Karen Smith; ‘When You Love’, a major local hit for A.J. Brown; ‘If I Lose Your Love’ recorded by Boris Gardiner, Jannette Silvera and Anthony & the Imperials; as well as arranging & producing ‘The Honourable Miss Lou’, a folk album for the legendary Louise Bennett-Coverly. Among the other artistes and groups who have benefited from his efforts are: I Jah Man; SPM; Vic Taylor; Pablo Moses; Ernie Smith; Carole Reid; the University Singers; and JOY, the Jamaica Orchestra of Youth.
As a performer, Peter Ashbourne has: played violin and piano, in both solo & ensemble capacities and been: Leader/musical director of 70’s pop singing group ‘The Peter Ashbourne Affair’; Leader of the ‘Pimento Ensemble’, a classical chamber group and founding member of “MUSICA XAYMACA, the Jamaican Chamber Music Group”; Leader/arranger/pianist, with pop/jazz group ‘Ashes’, which operates in & out of the recording studio (accompanying singers) and also operates as a jazz group;
Composer, arranger and musical Director: ‘Jamaica Music Industry (JAMI) Awards’ shows 1986-1993; the ‘Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) Song Contest’ finals in Kingston, 1990; several of the annual ‘Prime Minister’s Gala’ concerts, many annual ‘Jamaica Musical Theatre Company’ productions, and the ‘Rising Stars’ competition 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Peter Ashbourne has been a studio musician and accompanist for many Jamaican artists such as Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Cynthia Schloss, Karen Smith, Della Manley; and international stars including Paul Simon, Manu Dibango, Eddie Kendricks, Eric Gayle, David Rudder and Randy Crawford. Ashbourne’s own feature album ‘Blind Man Swimming’, an adult-contemporary CD of original instrumental and vocal compositions, was released in 2001 and won an award for ‘Best Instrumental Album’ from the ‘Jamaica Federation of Musicians Union’. Most recently two of Peter Ashbourne’s compositions for high voice and piano, based on Jamaican folk songs have been recorded by noted Jamaican soprano Dawn-Marie Virtue-James.
He was musical director (composer / arranger / conductor) of the Opening Ceremony for the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, 2007 and the “A Moment in Time” Beres Hammond Show 2007, collaborating with the “Sugar Hill Orchestra” from New York.
Current projects include a music theory book on Jamaican popular music styles and a Reggae opera project inspired by the life of the late Jamaican dub poet Mikey Smith.
Peter Ashbourne is the recipient of many music awards, including awards for advertising, theatre and a ‘Jamaica Music Industry Composing Award’ for the song ‘The Winds of Hope’, co-written by Alvin Campbell, an inspirational song that has become part of the national psyche and was used at the opening of the World Netball Championship, Jamaica 2003. He has thrice won medals in ‘The Caribbean Song Festival’ as a composer, and is recipient of the ‘Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Music’ in 2004.
Karen Smith is affectionately known as ‘the songbird of Jamaica’. She gave up a banking career in 1986 to become an entertainer and has enjoyed her life in music immensely. She loves to sing and enjoys the exchange of energy between herself and the audience. She performs at many of the major hotels on Jamaica’s north coast, corporate functions in Kingston, church concerts and jazz events. Karen was the first featured act at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas when it opened in February 1990. She has opened for James Ingram, Natalie Cole, Seal and Air Supply. In 2006 she was awarded the Order of Distinction, officer class for memorable performances. Karen is married to legendary rock steady bassist Jackie Jackson and they have a daughter, Courtni, who sings and plays the piano. Karen is very excited to be on stag.Karen Smith is affectionately known as ‘the songbird of Jamaica’. She gave up a banking career in 1986 to become an entertainer and has enjoyed her life in music immensely. She loves to sing and enjoys the exchange of energy between herself and the audience. She performs at many of the major hotels on Jamaica’s north coast, corporate functions in Kingston, church concerts and jazz events. Karen was the first featured act at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas when it opened in February 1990. She has opened for James Ingram, Natalie Cole, Seal and Air Supply. In 2006 she was awarded the Order of Distinction, officer class for memorable performances. Karen is married to legendary rock steady bassist Jackie Jackson and they have a daughter, Courtni, who sings and plays the piano. Karen is very excited to be on stage with the E- Park Band under the baton of founder/director and her friend Peter Ashbourne.
Michael Sean Harris
"Listening to Michael Sean Harris sing is simply cathartic...Harris musical influences are as eclectic as they are empowering' -Roland Henry -The Jamaica Observer
Travel a thousand miles of warm chocolate on the smooth voice of Michael Harris and indulge your sweet tooth a little. Indulge your ears and treat yourself to a voice that has melted hearts and warmed souls all over the world from Greece to Austria.
As the lead vocalist with the 'Holiday on Ice – In Concert, his voice has been heard and enjoyed throughout Europe.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston USA, Harris acquired a Bachelor of Music Degree, in Music Synthesis/Contemporary Writing, with voice as his main instrument – an instrument honed in the heat of the Caribbean sun where his talent was first nurtured on the island of Jamaica from which hails the musical genius of Bob Marley and Reggae and Dancehall music. When you listen to Michael's music, you can feel yourself on a smooth ride from America, down to the Caribbean Sea and back again to Europe – as he seamlessly merges classic folk and contemporary music of all three regions of the world and adds a spice of something that is uniquely his. The only way to get it is to taste. And once you have,
you will never turn back.
'Boundaries such as genre, style and even language were not just ignored, but dismissed with disdain...It was a marvel to see and listen...to the ‘gestalt’ ... something, this time a sound, a vibe, an experience, which is greater than the sum of its individual parts...'- Darren Khan [Jamaica Observer]