Ashford & Simpson For Jamaica Jazz & Blues

`Solid As A Rock` duo, Ashford & Simpson, are set to grace the stage of the 2009 Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival next month. Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson have been added to the opening night lineup of the festival, set for January 22-24 at Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Since the beginning of their career together over 30 years ago, Ashford & Simpson have become one of the most prolific and versatile musical couples in recording history. Combining multiple skills as performers, songwriters and producers, they have created an unprecedented catalog of chart-topping hit singles and albums, collecting 22 gold and platinum records and more than 50 ASCAP awards.

As staff songwriters for Scepter Records, Nick and Valerie penned Ray Charles' classic `Lets Go Get Stoned,` in 1964, which brought them to attention of Motown's hit-making team Holland-Davier- Holland. At Motown, they wrote their second smash hit `Aint No Mountain High Enough` for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. Soaring high energy harmonies and driving rhythms became Ashford & Simpson trademarks, and other Gaye/Terrell hits followed. `Your Precious Love,` `Aint Nothing Like the Real Thing,` `You're All I Need to Get By` and `Good Lovin' Aint Easy to Come By.`

They soon grew beyond staff writers and signed with Warner Brothers in 1973 as recording artistes. The duo recorded eight albums, four of which went gold. Their numerous hit singles include "Send It," "Found a Cure," "Don't Cost You Nothin," "It Seems to Hang On" and "Love Don't Make It Right,"

In addition to their own growing catalog of songs, Ashford & Simpson wrote and produced for Ben E King, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Quincy Jones and re-wrote a version of "Aint No Mountain High Enough" for Diana Ross that became a number one record. Her album "The Boss,` not only gave her another hit song but a title as well. In the 80's Ashford & Simpson signed with Capitol Records and their hit "Solid as a Rock" continues to be a signature song for the duo.

Ashford & Simpson joins a Thursday night line-up that opens with award-winning multiplatinum superstar, Robin Thicke; British Grammy Award-nominated hip hop/R&B singer, rapper and producer Estelle, who is best known for her hit single "American Boy;" Los Van Van, a Cuban band led by bassist Juan Formell, the Reunion Jazz Quartet and Jewish reggae singer, Matisyahu. On Friday night, January 23rd, Jamaica’s Rose Hall development in Montego Bay will come alive with multi-platinum Grammy award-winning singer, Lionel Richie, who will grace the stage along with Lou Gramm of Foreigner fame, Randy Crawford and Joe Sample, Alton Reeds Blues Entourage and young Canadian sensation, 13-year-old Nikki Yanofsky.

Saturday, Jan. 24th rocks with Chicago, Maxi Priest, Atlantic Starr and the O`Jays, all of whom need no introduction. Also added recently to the Saturday line up are: Acclaimed singer-songwriter Carlene Carter, who has emerged from a period of intense mourning and introspection to craft `Stronger,` an album that explores the power of love to hurt, to bring laughter, to change the heart and, most of all, to heal.

Jazz fest officials say bargain hunting music lovers looking to enjoy the warmth of Jamaica and the sweet sounds of the 2009 Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival can get great all inclusive-deals for as low as $999 in some instances. Fans are urged to call Air Jamaica or their favorite travel agent. Tickets to the nightly festival this year are $US80 or a weekend pass can be obtained for $ $155. A season pass or three day pass is $235 and can be purchased on the Jazz Fest website. Log on directly to to buy tickets.

The 2009 festival is being presented this year by the Jamaica Tourist Board, which is the new title sponsor. The festival, which since its introduction in 1996 was known as the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, has attracted thousands of patrons from the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and Jamaica. International artistes that have performed at the festival include Alicia Keys, Kenny Rogers, Norah Jones, Julio Iglesias, Roberta Flack, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, India Arie, Nancy Wilson, Earth Wind and Fire, Kenny G., Michael McDonald, Gladys Knight, Kool & the Gang, Al Jarreau,Branford Marsalis, Brian McKnight Harry Belafonte, Babyface, Stephanie Mills, George Benson, Erykah Badu, Gladys Knight, Michael Bolton, and many more. And to bring the Jamaican flavor, well-known names such as Ziggy Marley, Morgan Heritage, Third World, Toots Hibbert, Shaggy, Sean Paul Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, Monty Alexander, Ritchie Stephens and many other Jamaican talents have made their mark on the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues stage.

This year the festival is being presented by key title sponsor, the Jamaica Tourist Board along with Rose Hall Developments, Jamrock Magazine, Half Moon, The Jamaica Observer, Holiday Inn Sun Spree, The Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Rose Hall, Courts Jamaica, Scotiabank, Riu Hotels, CaribPR Wire, Sky Writings Magazine and CMS Media.

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