Grammy Winner Dion Parson to Headline Sunset Jazz

Dion Parson (Source file photo)
Dion Parson (Source file photo)

The Virgin Islands own Grammy-winning artist, drummer Dion Parsons, along with his 21st Century Band, will perform on Strand Street in Frederiksted from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday as part of the Sunset Jazz program.

The world-renowned 21st Century Band also features saxophonist Ron Blake, who is a member of the Saturday Night Live Band. Other members come with their own all-star mastery of jazz as they are currently performing with a diverse group of top billed artists.

The event is sponsored by the Frederiksted Economic Development Association and the Department of Tourism. Sunset Jazz is FEDA’s premiere event and has presented local and international artists since its inception more than 18 years ago. It is the longest running free community concert series in the Virgin Islands.

Born on St. Thomas, Parson originally played trombone before turning to the drums at age 15. He said he was looked forward to the band returning to the territory to perform.

“After nearly 17 years, the members of the 21st Century Band are happy to return back to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, to pay homage to our V. I. cultural bearers, while entertaining the wonderful folks of St. Croix,” he said.

Members of the band have been visiting the Virgin Islands on an individual basis over the past seven years through partnerships with the University of the Virgin Islands, the Department of Education, and United Jazz Foundation’s Music Education programs, assisting the many public school music educators to mentor and educate the next generation of musicians from the islands.

“Our goals have been to help create the next generation of musicians while ensuring and securing a talent pool that will be the foundation of our continued cultural sustainability,” Parsons said.

As a 501(c)3 non profit organization, FEDA’s mission is to enhance and support the economic. historic, cultural and tourism product of Frederiksted town. In addition to the monthly Sunset Jazz concert series, FEDA also produced the Blue Bay Jazz Festival in 2007 and 2008 as well as the annual July 3 Post Emancipation Day Concert and Fireworks.