September 27'th Washington DC Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers Crossed Tour” visited The Howard Theatre in Washington DC. The show was everything we hoped for and more. His legendary tenor is as sweet as ever and his showmanship was a delight. The standing-room-only crowd was very much into the performance.
The crowd was composed of all races, many different nationality's, and and all walks of life.
Fans in sandals and t-shirts were standing next to fans in designer clothes. Jimmy's music was clearly a unifying element for the entire crowd.
Jimmy is touring with Ethan Tucker who opened the show and pleased the crowd with a very nice acoustic performance that spanned reggae and pop styles.
The evening was filled with Cliff’s best music and he shared his stories and memories throughout the evening.
We especially enjoyed Jimmy’s story about “Wild World”.
Both Jimmy and Cat Stevens were with Island Records when Stevens wrote the song.
It seemed Stevens didn’t really like the song that much and offered it to Jimmy.
Jimmy loved the song and recorded it for the British market where it became a hit.
Steven’s version of the song went on to become a hit in the USA.
Press "play" below and select full-screen to enjoy the best of our high-definition photos from the show.
As a young man, after searching fruitlessly for a producer or label, Jimmy walked into a record store one day and convinced the owner, Leslie Kong, to go into the recording business with him. Cliff and Kong had their first hit “Hurricane Hattie” together when Jimmy was just 14. An inspiring story of loyalty in these times, Jimmy stayed with Kong until his death.
Jimmy’s career took off after he signed with Island Records in the late 60’s. Bob Dylan called Jimmy’s “Vietnam” the best protest song he had ever heard. High praise from the king of protest songs.
Cliff is the only living musician to receive the Jamaican “Order of Merit” for an outstanding lifetime of contributions to the performing arts. In 2010 he was inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you remember the movie “Cool Runnings” then you should also remember Jimmy’s music from the soundtrack.
Jimmy also starred in and contributed music to the classic 1972 Reggae film “The Harder They Come” which still stands alone as one of the most important Reggae movies ever made and one of the most internationally significant films to ever come out of Jamaica.
In February 2013, Cliff won the Best Reggae Album Grammy Award for Rebirth and he is currently traveling and performing throughout the country for his “Many Rivers Crossed” tour which plays off one of his biggest early hits "Many Rivers to Cross".
“While REBIRTH is named after what Cliff perceives as his own artistic revival, the reggae pioneer has never really been away, working with a who’s-who of other rock legends over the years, including the Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello and Annie Lennox, his songs covered by the likes of Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, New Order and Fiona Apple. His patented sweet tenor is the most recognizable vocal in reggae along with his only fellow Jamaican Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Bob Marley.” From Jimmy’s official site at www.JimmyCliff.com.
The 2013 season of “The Voice” features finalist Tessanne Chin. For three years, she sang backup for Jimmy Cliff, before breaking out as a solo artist in Jamaica.
Tessanne is a Jamaican singer who grew up on the island knowing she wanted to be a musician.
Tessanne had very nice things to say about Jamaican Royalty “Sir Jimmy Cliff” and Jimmy even made an appearance to wish her the best. (Follow her adventure: @Tessanne)