MCDCA launches Simply Jazz Online Competition for Live@Lunch

MCDCA launches Simply Jazz Online Competition for Live@Lunch

Updated: May 7, 2020                                                                        

As Trinidad and Tobago continues to adapt to the new normal, social media platforms have become the ‘new performing space or stage’ for artistes and audiences alike. April and May is the unofficial Jazz season in Trinidad and Tobago, when countless events and shows are usually hosted at performing spaces across the country.  Live@Lunch Simply Jazz and Jazz Fusion were two events hosted by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA). Understanding the realities of the situation and the income generating vacuum facing artistes, the MCDCA livestreamed City Blessings in March and for May will host an online jazz competition for local artistes. The “Simply Jazz Online Competition” builds on the Ministry’s monthly Live@Lunch project and seeks to develop the amateur musical talent and build artistic confidence in the Jazz genre.

According to Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and Arts, “given the cancellation or postponement of many if not all of our local and regional jazz events, the online Competition is a new and innovative way to support our jazz musical talents by providing a platform to showcase their talent to a wide audience, keep the public arts alive and further the development of the overall musical and cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago. We are also celebrating new talent by the inclusion of a prize for “Best New Act”.

The competition, which was launched on April 30, 2020, and targets nationals who are Jazz vocalists and Instrumentalists.  Contestants must submit a two (2) minute cover of one of ten (10) songs from the Participants Music List. Judges will review with the top five (5) scores moving unto the finals. The five finalists will form a capsuled Live at Lunch Simply Jazz Livestreamed show, where the winners will be voted on by the online viewing audience with over $27,000 in prize money to be won, including the special prize for Best New Act. There is also a developmental element of the competition, as the vocal finalists will be invited by Trinidad and Tobago’s, Vaughnette Bigford to a two-hour workshop via Zoom on the basic approach to singing jazz and stage presentation.

The Simply Jazz Online Competition’s aim is to bring to the fore performers with a strong artistic personality and stage presence. The emphasis is therefore not on the purely technical aspect of the performance, but also on the artistic charisma of the performer.  For further details on the competition please see below.

Competition Timeframe

Thursday April 30 to Monday May 11, 2020.


  1. The competition is open to all Jazz performing vocalists and instrumentalists, who are nationals of Trinidad and Tobago.
  2. A contestant may be from one of the two (2) categories performing one of the ten (10) songs from the “Participants Music List”.


  • Vocals backed by either tracks or an instrumentalist or it can be a vocalist/instrumentalist.
  • Instrumentalist (stand-alone)
  1. The maximum number of entries is one per contestant. Each performance entry should be a 2-minute video (maximum 70MB), along with a scanned copy of ID and contact number emailed to: with the Subject Heading: “Live at Lunch Simply Jazz Online Competition”.                                    
  2. Each entrant will receive a confirmation e-mail.
  3. Finalists will be selected by a panel of three (3) judges each for vocalists and instrumentalists to form a capsuled Live at Lunch Simply Jazz Livestreamed show that will be held on Friday May 15 at 12 noon. The overall “Winners” will be determined via public vote.
  4. The Ministry expects that all entrants will exercise honesty and integrity and submit videos in compliance with the guidelines. Failure to comply will result in automatic disqualification.
  5. The judges’ decision will be final.
  6. The deadline for the competition is Monday May 11, 2020 at 11.59 pm. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Judging Criteria

Jazz is seen as a fusion of African and European musical styles and there are many sub-genres of Jazz, like Acid Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Bebop, Indo Jazz, Jazz -funk, and many others. Some of the basic characteristics of Jazz include improvisation, strong, prominent meter, dotted or syncopated rhythmic patterns, and distinctive tone colours and performance techniques. Jazz emphasizes the importance of expression, style, individuality and communication.


The following are some main aspects that will be adjudicated upon:

  • MELODY – the singer or instrumentalist must be able to establish the melody before any melodic development. Diction for singer must have clarity and precision, with all pitches and phrasing sung in tune and consistent with the genre.
  • RHYTHM – rhythm must be performed accurately as it pertains to the style in which it is performed.
  • TONALITY – the performer should demonstrate a good understanding of tonal quality unless it is an atonal piece that is being performed which will apply to the adaptation and composition of pitches and how they present the piece.
  • PRESENTATION – the performer must be professionally attired and the title of the piece, should be coupled with how they execute the performance.

Participants Music List

  • Misty by Erroll Garner
  • Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin
  • God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday
  • My Funny Valentine by Rodgers and Hart
  • Lullaby of Birdland by George Shearing
  • Our Love is here to stay by George and Ira Gershwin
  • They can’t take that away from me by George and Ira Gershwin
  • Satin Doll by Duke Ellington
  • Good Morning Heartache by Irene Higginbotham, Ervin Drake and Dan Fisher
  • Fly Me to the Moon by Kaye Ballard

Competition Prizes

  • Category: Vocalist

1st Prize – $5,000.00

2nd place – $3,500.00

3rd place – $2,500.00

  • Category: Instrumentalist

1st Prize – $5,000.00

2nd place – $3,500.00

3rd place – $2,500.00

Special prize for the Best New Act





For media inquiries, please contact:

The Communications Unit

Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts

Nicholas Tower