The 2004 St. Lucia Jazz line-up was announced at the Pigeon Island side-lawn on Friday evening to lots of satisfied jazz enthusiasts. Friday’s launch was a well produced event which included speeches by the Minister of Tourism Hon. Phillip J Pierre who spoke of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that St. Lucia Jazz continues to grow and thrive and the Director of Tourism Peter Hilary Modeste who spoke on the new concept for St. Lucia Jazz. The St. Lucia Tourist Board expects that the new concept will keep the event on a path of growth and development. The St. Lucia Jazz launch also included a performance by St. Lucian Jazz Band Blue Mango, followed by the announcement of the line-up by actor Leon Robinson and St. Lucia jazz regular Ruby Peters.The artistes who have been announced so far include R&B bombshell Ashanti who will perform at the Pigeon Island side-lawn on Friday May 14th, male R&B vocalist Joe who will also be doing the side-lawn but on Thursday May 13th.St. Lucia Jazz as always contains a number of classy jazz acts this year including Billy Taylor, James Carter, Maynard Ferguson, Marlena Shaw, Joss Stone, Cuban Band Charanga Habanera, the St. Lucia Jazz Ensemble, the Yellow Jackets and Floetry.The St. Lucia Tourist Board has set up a new concept for Jazz this year, according to the Board’s Director the event has come to a point where some changes are needed to take it further, “We now need to look to more mainstream performers as a source of headliners for St. Lucia Jazz. We are being supported in our initiative to acquire more mainstream headliners by Image Entertainment”.Four years ago the company agreed to produce a series of DVDs called live from St. Lucia featuring a number of St. Lucia Jazz performers. So far there are in the region of five to seven DVDs of different artistes available for sale internationally. This is a great source of exposure for St. Lucia and St. Lucia Jazz.Including more mainstream artistes will increase the marketability of St. Lucia Jazz as well as these DVD’s providing even greater exposure for the island. “We have begun this transformation of our line-up this year however St. Lucians will be able to see the real impact of our new thrust by 2005 and 2006”, commented Modeste. Fans of St. Lucia Jazz can expect the headliners for Saturday and Sunday to be announced soon.