r'kardo st'von  546 

Jason Baptiste was born in Point Fortin, and from the age of five he began beating his first tunes on milk tins. Born into a family of musicians, it is from within this fold that he began his musical career. From pan player to arranger, Jason seemed to follow the typical path of Trinidadian musicians, however very soon his ambitions surpassed the culture of his own country.

Going against main stream and challenging technical difficulty, Jason chose to play double tenor with four sticks instead of two. With his instrument Jason produces new and richer chords which give him the freedom to venture into other musical genres like jazz or European classical music. Jason Baptiste is without doubt, a master of the art of playing double tenor pans with four sticks and he recognizes pioneer pannist Earl Rodney as his mentor.

Guided by the Trinidadian elders (Earl Rodney, Errol Goodridge, Wilfred Woodley, Pat Robertson and Fortunia Ruiz) and innovating with the new generation (Michael and Felix Ruiz), Jason has built his reputation in the jazz circles of Trinidad and Tobago. He opened the Trinidad and Tobago Pan Jazz Festival II in 1989, with the Ruiz Brothers. Jason Baptiste was initially recognized as an extraordinary musician with a Copyright Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) award as Pannist of the year in 1988. Jason's initial performance as a band leader/composer/pannist was at the Trinidad and Tobago Pan Jazz Festival VIII in 1996 where he captured the title of Best Soloist in the Pan Ramajay competition.

Since then he has been travelling around the world with many different groups. During 2003 Jason found a base in France. He performed at the 22nd Festival de Jazz de Saint Gilles croix de vie in France, with his own band in 2005. Jason also performed as a trio with renowned French guitarist Daniel Givone in Jazz in Longourla France in 2006. He has recorded a number of CDs, with "Bwa Lélé" and, "Vineyard Vibes", his solo effort, produced during his sojourn in France in 2003. He recently produced a CD with his mentor, Earl Rodney and launched his new band AFROLYPSO.

Pan jazzist Jason Baptiste is ensuring the continuity of the national instrument, the steelpan, by tutoring youths to become proficient at this artform.