JAZZMAN IN EXILE
Bobby Enriquez, who grew up in Bacolod City in the mountainous Philippine province of Negros Occidental, says that he "didn't see a TV set until I was 16." His entertainment from the age of 2 was learning to play the piano. He left home in his midteens to join a big band in Manila.
With a sixth album recently released, Enriquez, who now lives in New York, is a world-traveling performer who has earned his living as a jazz musician for nearly three decades. He will be at the Maryland Inn, Annapolis, Friday through Sunday.
"I said the only way you could get Marcos out was to have your own army," says Enriquez, a virtual exile from his country for 20 years because of his outspoken opposition to the regime. His plans for the future include establishing a music education foundation at the University of the Philippines to which artists like Dizzy Gillespie, with whom the pianist has toured, can be invited to lecture and perform.
"See, I had to run away," explains Enriquez, "and I would like to give my people some chance, put them in the ring. I don't care if they lose, at least they'll have a feeling of being there. And if they win, we have a champion."
-- W. Royal Stokes NORTHWIND'S FOLK JAZZ
African, East Indian and Japanese influences all are heard in the jazz quartet Northwind. But the recent addition of violinist Don Lax to the five-year-old group "added a whole new dimension," says saxophonist Gary MacCready.
Lax got his classical violin training in Paris, Rome and Bombay; his experience ranges from a stint with an Italian rock band to accompanying belly dancers. "A certain dynamism is infused when a passionate instrument such as the violin is added," MacCready says. "The horn and violin work off each other . . . a kind of calling and answering sound."
The Santa Cruz-based quartet's brand of folk jazz can be heard at its April 6 concert at Mount Vernon College. Pianist Doro Reeves and guitarist/percussionist Lorin Noller will join MacCready and Lax in performing pieces from their forthcoming album "Fire Shadows," as well as others from two earlier albums. For ticket information call 331-3467.
-- Jean Cavanaugh 'COUSIN' IN AMERICA
Canadian filmmaker Sandy Wilson, whose first feature, "My American Cousin," swept the Academy of Canadian Cinema's Genie awards (Canada's version of the Oscars) this month, says she is curious to see if her film will be as successful in the United States as it's been in Canada. The film is scheduled for general U.S. release in June, but "My American Cousin" will have a special premiere in Washington next Saturday at the Baird Auditorium -- and Wilson plans to attend.
Wilson wrote and directed the autobiographical film, which concerns a 12-year-old girl's crush on her 16-year-old cousin. It is set in the summer of 1959, when Wilson was 12, in the magnificent Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, where Wilson grew up. The film opens with the girl (played by Margaret Langrick) writing in her diary that nothing ever happens there; the arrival of her cousin from California (played by John Wildman), who has run away from home in his mother's Cadillac convertible, changes all that. The movie was produced by Canadian Peter O'Brian, whose credits include "The Grey Fox" and "One Magic Christmas."
According to Wilson, a central theme of the film is how Canadians view their relationship with the United States. America is seen as the more "dazzling" of the two countries, which is just how she saw her rebellious American cousin in the summer of 1959.
Wilson, 38, lives in Vancouver, where she's currently recuperating from a "week-long champagne binge" brought on by the Genies (which included best picture, best direction, best original screenplay, best film editing, best actor and best actress). She is working on three screenplays: a contemporary comedy about falling in love and making a movie; a story about her grandmother; and a treatment of Paul Zindel's book, "The Pigman." Wilson says she can write almost anywhere, but likes her "little cabin next to Paradise Ranch in the Okanagan Valley , with no electricity or running water."
Saturday's showing of "My American Cousin," presented by the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program, is sold out.
-- Robin Groom THE WONDER OF IT ALL
"We're going to try to include as many different styles of his music as possible," says vocalist K. Shalong of next Saturday's Charlin Jazz Society's Tribute to Stevie Wonder in the auditorium of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. "Much of his music is composed on different levels . . . He runs everything from pop to gospel to blues to contemporary to easy-listening jazz." Shalong will be accompanied by pianist John Ozment, who also works with the singer in a trio format at Joplin's in the Howard Inn Tuesdays through Saturdays.
The tribute to Wonder continues Charlin's celebration of its fifth anniversary. Also performing are gospel singer Gloria Hightower, the Creative Music Experience choral group and the D.C. Youth Ensemble, a dance company. Proceeds will be contributed to Charlin's Summer Youth Intern Program and the University of the District of Columbia's WDCU-FM.
"Most kids growing up then," says Shalong, who is the same age as Wonder, "felt that the fact that Stevie Wonder was blind made his music even more special . . . He has a very broad frame of reference in his beliefs in terms of the universe and his connection with nature."
-- W. Royal Stokes