Archive for January, 2009

Premier South Florida Jazz Event Enter Its Fourth Year

January 30, 2009 3 comments

Roy Ayers Anthony Hamilton Angelique Kidjo Saxophonist Kenny G Maze featuring Frankie Beverly Hip Hop Star Common Will Downing South African Jazz Singer Jonathan Butler Baduism
The City of Miami Gardens has just released their mega star-studded lineup for the 2009 installment of Miami Gardens’ own music fest billed as “Jazz In The Gardens”. The fourth edition of this now popular music fete is set for March 28 and 29th on the grounds of the Dolphin stadium. The two-day festival will be a one stop shop for music fans of all ages, as there will be something for everyone to enjoy. The March 28th lineup includes: Anthony Hamilton, Common, Erykah Badu, Will Downing, Roy Ayers. The final day of the festival will see artists such as Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Kenny G, Jonathan Butler, Angelique Kidjo, and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. These artists are no stranger to the South Florida area and music fans from all walks of life who will travel to this two-day festival no doubt have there favorites.
Kenneth Gorelick’ known only as Kenny G to his million of fans worldwide started with a job as saxophone soloist for Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra in 1973 at the age of 17, when White was impressed by his mastery of the blues scale. Kenny was also studying for a major in accounting at the same time. After being rejected as a music major from Central Washington University, he went on to get a degree from University of Washington and played with the funk band Cold, Bold & Together before becoming a credited member of The Jeff Lorber Fusion. He began his solo career after his period with Lorber. In 1982, Kenny G signed with Arista Records as a solo artist, after label president Clive Davis heard his rendition of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”. He has released many solo albums and collaborated with various artists including Andrea Bocelli, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Natalie Cole, Steve Miller (which marked the only time he appeared on a rock and roll album), Dudley Moore, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. Influenced by the likes of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. and the lyricism of Barry Manilow, his own albums are usually classified as smooth jazz. He received success quite early on, with both G Force and Gravity, his second and third studio albums respectively, achieving platinum status in the United States.
Will Downing is an American singer-songwriter and producer. Downing’s recording career has won a loyal audience of contemporary jazz and R&B fans with albums and concerts that have showcased his rich baritone vocals and unique interpretations of R&B and pop classics that stretches back to the early 1980s. After about two decades of making approximately sixteen solo albums, this crooner showed extreme courage, even though Will was sidelined with the devastating auto-immune disease known as Polymyositis, he managed to release his lastest album entitled After Tonight. South Florida music fans will embrace him with open arms as their musical ear will be in for a treat.
Erica Abi Wright born February 26, 1971 better known by her stage name Erykah Badu, is a multiple Grammy-winner American soul singer and songwriter, whose work encompasses elements of R&B, hip hop and jazz. She is best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, musical stylings and sense of fashion. Erykah also known as the “First Lady of Neo-Soul”. Early in her career, Badu was recognizable for wearing very large and colorful headwraps. For her musical sensibilities, she has often been compared to jazz great Billie Holiday. Her musical success stems over the following albums Baduizm (1997), Live (1997), Mama’s Gun (2000), Worldwide Underground (2003), New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) (2008), New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (2009)
Anthony Hamilton was born January 28, 1971 in Charlotte, North Carolina is an American R&B, soul, and neo soul singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame with his platinum-selling second studio album Comin’ from Where I’m From (2003), which featured the singles “Comin’ from Where I’m From” and “Charlene”. Hamilton first discovered his talent while singing in his church’s choir at age ten. In 1993, he left Charlotte and headed to New York City, where he signed with Andre Harrell’s Uptown Records. He was first introduced to mainstream audiences with his singing of the chorus on Nappy Roots’ 2002 “Po’ Folks”, which earned a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” in 2003. He is also featured on Jadakiss’ 2004 hit “Why” (which was also nominated for “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration”, in 2005) and two of 2Pac’s remixed songs, 2002’s “Thugz Mansion” (7 Remix) and 2006’s “Dear Mama” (Frank Nitty Remix). Hamilton’s first compilation album, Soulife, is composed of songs recorded during the early part of Hamilton’s career and was released in June 2005. Ain’t Nobody Worryin’, his gold-selling third studio album, was released on December 13, 2005.
Ayers grew up in a musical family. At the age of five, Lionel Hampton gave him his first pair of mallets, which led to the vibraphone being his trademark sound for decades. The area of Los Angeles that Ayers grew up in, now known as “South Central”, but then known as “South Park”, was the epicenter of the Southern California Black Music Scene. On any given day, Roy would have been likely to be exposed to music as it not only emanated from the many nightclubs and bars in the area, but also poured out of many of the homes where the musicians who kept the scene alive lived in and around Central. Thomas Jefferson High School, from which Ayers graduated, gave to the music and jazz worlds some of its brightest stars, such as Dexter Gordon. Ayers was responsible for the highly regarded soundtrack to Jack Hill’s 1973 blaxploitation film Coffy, which starred Pam Grier. He later moved from a jazz-funk sound to R&B, as seen on Mystic Voyage and especially the title track from his 1976 album Everybody Loves the Sunshine.
The Concert will see other greats as South African Singer/Songwriter Jonathan Butler, Common, Maze featuring Franky Beverly and Angelique Kidjo.
Jazz in the Gardens, in just three years, has become one of the premiere jazz festivals in South Florida; raising the bar each year with its star studded line up. The jazz festival, with attendance levels expected at 20,000 this year, delivers a diverse mix of music genres that range from Jazz, R&B and Caribbean sounds.
Circle One Marketing and Concertz Event Management, Inc., fresh off the heels of their success with last year’s festival is once again at the helm with this year’s installment. The strong leadership of Mayor Shirley Gibson has taken The City of Miami Gardens in just three years, taken Jazz in the Gardens to unprecedented levels of notoriety and reputation. Last year’s phenomenal success included growing the attendance by 350% over the first year. With the tremendous line-up of artists, on-site attractions, tight event management and massive local, regional and national promotional efforts, this year’s attendance is expected to top 20,000, up more than 200% over 2007.
Jazz in the Gardens is presented by The City of Miami Gardens and Dolphin Stadium and sponsored by The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club, Macy’s, Southern Wines & Spirits, HOT 105 and Tootsies Caberet.


South Florida Welcomes Angelique Kidjo to Jazz In The Gardens Festival

January 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Sultry Singer/Songwriter Angelique Kidjo
The City of Miami Gardens has just released their mega star-studded lineup for the 2009 installment of Miami Gardens’ own music fest billed as “Jazz In The Gardens”. The fourth edition of this now popular music fete is set for March 28 and 29th on the grounds of the Dolphin stadium. The two-day festival will be a one stop shop for music fans of all ages, as there will be something for everyone to enjoy. The March 28th lineup includes: Anthony Hamilton, Common, Erykah Badu, Will Downing, Roy Ayers. The final day of the festival will see artists such as Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Kenny G, Jonathan Butler, Angelique Kidjo, and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.
Concert goers will be treated to this songs by this sultry singer Angelique Kidjo who was born in Cotonou, Benin. Her father, is from the Fon people of Ouidah and her mother from the Yoruba people. By the time she was six, Kidjo was performing with her mother’s theatre troupe, giving her an early appreciation for traditional music and dance. She started singing in her school band Les Sphinx and found success as a teenager with her adaptation of Miriam Makeba’s “Les Trois Z” which played on national radio. She recorded the album Pretty with the Camerounese producer Ekambi Brilliant and her brother Oscar. It featured the songs Ninive, Gbe Agossi and a tribute to the singer Bella Bellow, one of her her role models. The success of the album allowed her to tour all over West Africa. Continuing political conflicts in Benin prevented her from being an independent artist in her own country and led her to relocate to Paris in 1983.
While working various day jobs to pay for her tuition, Angelique studied music at the CIM, a reputable Jazz school in Paris where she met and married musician and producer Jean Hebrail with whom she has composed most of her music. She started out as a backup singer in local bands. In 1985, she became the frontsinger of the known Euro-African jazz/rock band Jasper van’t Hof’s Pili Pili. Three Pili Pili studio albums followed: Jakko (1987) Be In Two Minds (1988, produced by Marlon Klein) and Hotel Babo (1990). By the end of the 1980s, she had become one of the most popular live performers in Paris and recorded a solo album called Parakou for the Open Jazz Label.
She was then discovered in Paris by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell who signed her in 1991. She recorded four albums for Island until Chris Blackwell’s departure from the label. In 2000 she was signed in New York by Columbia Records for which she recorded two albums.
Her musical influences include the Afropop, Caribbean zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel, and Latin styles; as well as her childhood idols Bella Bellow, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Miriam Makeba and Carlos Santana. She has made her own renditions of George Gershwin’s Summertime, Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, and The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter, and has collaborated with the likes of Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Band, Kelly Price, Branford Marsalis, Robbie Nevil, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Cassandra Wilson. Kidjo’s hits include the songs “Agolo”, “We We”, “Adouma” “Wombo Lombo” “Afirika”,”Batonga” and her version of “Malaika”.

A Dose Of Tennis And Football

January 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Serena Charges To Victory

Serena Charges To Victory

Three-time Australian Tennis Champion, Serena Williams rallied back to beat Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova 5-7, 7-5, 6-1. in a match which at times seemed like a far reach for Ms. Williams. Serena who was only one win away from reaching the quarter finals, but was seemingly bother by the intense weather conditions. Her opponent capitalized on that and moved ahead in the first set. But amidst her struggles, Williams was persistent and kept hitting winners, although majority of her first serves were not connecting. Williams, who has nine Grand Slam singles titles, was thankful that the roof was closed over the court after she’d dropped the first set.
The temperature had risen to 107F) degrees by then. When the air conditioning finally kicked in, so did Williams’ performance. Until then, she said, “I was in like an out-of-body experience.”
“I felt I was watching someone play in a blue dress, and it wasn’t me, because it was so hot out there,” she said. “And I kept trying to tell myself that it’s not hot, you know.
Down a set and a break and with Kuznetsova serving for the match, Williams broke back to get even at 5-5 when Kuznetsova missed an open-court volley that turned the match.
Williams held and then broke Kuznetsova’s serve again, pulling to a set apiece with a forehand winner down the line.
William who broke to lead 3-1 in the third and then, after saving two break points with a pair of forehand winners. After putting away one Russian opponent, she slated to face three more in the semis. Serena will play Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva, who ousted Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2 in Wednesday’s earlier match.
Williams has won the Australian title in 2003, 2005 and 2007 is two wins from continuing the odd-numbered sequence. While the Williams-Kuznetsova match was interrupted for 10 minutes to close the roof, matches on outside courts were suspended or rescheduled to be played in the second closed arena.

SuperBowl Media Day is always the a great day for athletes, journalist and wonnabe journalists. And there are the few oddballs who attend to crash the party shocking some players with the absurdity of their questions and the audacity of their antics.
This year’s crowd at the annual fete seemed a bit tamer, one would suppose the weakened economy and lack of a forthcoming stimulus package had anything to do with this. Not to be disappointed by the no-show of the Tom Brady stacking bride, this year we had a “fairy godmother” dressed in drag. Under the red evening gown, long blonde wig and layers of thick makeup was Joel Bengoa, a reporter from Telemundo Sports Network, the NBC-owned U.S. Spanish language network, looking for a laugh. Doing his best Scarlett Johansson imitation, Bengoa teetered in his heels en route to present several players with boxes of chocolates.
“The fairy godmother claims to be the good luck charm for the Cardinals, but again I am a bitter Eagles fan…no comment there. Ines Sainz was back for her sixth Super Bowl for TV Azteca out of Mexico City, measuring players’ biceps then comparing them to her 27-inch waist.

Game Face

Game Face

At the other end of the festivities, Entertainment Tonight staged a “Dancing with the Super Bowl Stars” contest between hulking defensive tackles: Arizona’s Alan Branch claimed the disco ball trophy, claimed he’d keep it forever, then accidentally broke the ball off the base.

Kurt Warner’s Rise To Stardom – A Journey That Started With Arena Football

January 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Age Is Nothing But A Number - 13

Age Is Nothing But A Number - 13

Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Kurt Warner’s journey to the NFL will be one left to be documented for the history books. One chapter that will be written for sure will be that Kurt is the one of the few players who has played in three different leagues AFL, NFLE, and NFL) in his journey to stardom. Born June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa, Kurt Warner played high school ball at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and went on to the University of Northern Iowa. At UNI, Warner was third on the Panthers’ depth chart until his senior year. When Warner was finally given the chance to start, he was named the Gateway Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.

An undrafted free agent, the 6’2/220 QB, attended the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994, but was released before the regular season began. Warner returned to Northern Iowa and worked as a graduate assistant coach with the football team, all the while still hoping to get a tryout with an NFL team. With no NFL teams willing to give him a chance, Warner turned to the Arena Football League in 1995 and signed with the Iowa Barnstormers. Warner was named to the AFL’s All-Arena first team in both 1996 and 1997 as he led the Barnstormers to Arena Bowl appearances in both seasons. He was also named twelfth on a list of the twenty best Arena Football players of all time.

Following his stellar performances with the Arena Football League, in 1998, Warner was signed by the St. Louis Rams and was allocated to NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals. Warner led NFL Europe in touchdowns and passing yards.[6] His backup was Jake Delhomme, now the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers.

Warner was the backup quarterback for the St. Louis Rams during the 1998 regular season and the 1999 preseason. When starting quarterback Trent Green was injured in a preseason game, Warner took over as the starter. With the support of running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl, Warner completed one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history by throwing for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1%. The Rams’ high-powered offense was nicknamed “The Greatest Show on Turf” and registered the first in a string of three consecutive 500-point seasons, an NFL record. Warner threw three touchdown passes in each of the first three games in the 1999 season, his first three NFL starts. He is the only NFL quarterback in history to accomplish that feat, and only the second other than Dan Marino to do it in his first two NFL starts.

Teacher and Student

Teacher and Student

Since last playing for the Rams, his voyage has taken him to the Big Apple as backup to Eli Manning and has taken him to The Arizona Cardinals, now a place he calls home sweet home, especially after this year’s performance.

Although footballs fans here in America might not pay much attention to the Arena Football League, this league has propelled several players to the next level, players such as Greg White of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rasheed Davis of the Chicago Bears, among others. I am convinced that the hard-knocks ironman styled indoor game of Arena Football prepared Mr. Warner for life in the outdoors.

Many Faces Of The Ageless Wonder

Many Faces Of The Ageless Wonder

But as luck and history would have it on February 1, 2009 at about 6:38 pm, Kurt Warner will lead the Cardinals to break the 90 year drought that the Cardinals have held. Being an Eagles’ fan myself, it will be a bitter sweet felling, but not even a lackluster fan like me could deny his place in history. Kudos to Kurt and the Cards.

Bernhard Langer Off To Fast Start In 2009

January 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Bernhard Langer Off To a Fast Start

Bernhard Langer Off To a Fast Start

Champions Tour Player, Bernhard Lange and reigning Tour Rookie of the Year finished his final round four-under par – 68 on Sunday, January 25, 2009 in Kaupulehu-Kona, HI to hold off Andy Bean for a one-stroke win at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Golf Club.
The cool, calm and collective, Langer trailed by one entering the final round, posting a 68 which gave him the win at 18-under-par and 198 for the tournament.
After the round, a smiling Langer said “there is nothing better than winning,” collecting a purse of $315,000 for the victory. Bean fired a six-under 66 to take second at 17-under-par 199. Jay Haas carded a two-under 70 to end alone in third at minus-15, while Jeff Sluman (70) and Mark McNulty (67) were one back at 14-under-par 202.
Second-round leader Brad Bryant stumbled to a three-over 75 to end in a share of eighth place. Bryant, the 2007 U.S. Senior Open champion, has led after two rounds on four occasions and has lost all four of those events. He has played in the last group 11 times and has won just one of those titles.

Langer’s come-from-behind win is the fifth in the last six years at this event. Things didn’t look good for Langer at the start. He bogeyed the second to fall three back. He and Bryant birdied the third, then Langer two-putted for birdie on four to get within two.

A par on the par-three fifth was good enough to give Langer a two-shot lead as Bryant found the water right of the green twice en route to a quadruple-bogey seven. That dropped Bryant to minus-13 and he didn’t recover from there.

A confident Langer two-putted for birdie on the seventh to remain two clear of Bean and Haas. Langer got up and down for birdie on 10 to move to 17-under, where he was one ahead of Bean, who eagled the 10th to briefly gain a share of the lead.
Andy Bean
Bean bogeyed the 11th, then Langer rolled in a long birdie putt on 12. Langer stumbled to a bogey on the 13th to fall into a share of the lead with Bean, who birdied the 13th and 14th to get to 17-under.
Langer rebounded with a two-putt birdie on the par-five 14th to move one ahead at minus-18. Langer parred the final four holes to collect his fifth Champions Tour title.
Langer said that he did not watch the Leaderboard, instead he just hammered away at the course, which was probably a good idea since other players like Bean and Haas where footsteps behind.
Bean poured in three birdies in a four-hole span from the fourth to jump to 14-under, where he was one behind. He briefly grabbed a share of the lead with a 13-foot eagle putt on the 10th.
He stumbled to a bogey on 11 to slip to 15-under. Bean birdied 13 and 14 to grab apiece of the lead, but like Langer, he could only par the final four holes to finish one back.
“I couldn’t do any better. I played well today and I just needed a few more putts to fall,” Bean stated. “I’ve certainly started off well. I certainly hit a couple of bad shots this week, but all in all I had a good start.”
Jay Haas
Other contenders on the final day were Gil Morgan with a 66 and John Cook with 68 who shared sixth place at 13-under-par 203. Bryant was joined in eighth place at minus-12 by Loren Roberts 68.
Gary Player, 73, broke his age for the third straight day. He carded rounds of 70-71-71 to share 27th place at minus-four. He has now bettered his age 12 times and matched it 12 other times on the Champions Tour.

Back From My Hiatus

January 23, 2009 Leave a comment

My last blog entry occurred late last year, when I made a serious decision to take some time off to do some more pressing things, like become a volunteer for the Obama campaign. As a result of that wonderful experience, I found another calling and helped my community to invoke change for our country. But now that President Obama is well on the way to bring about change for our country, I figured that I would return to blogging, bigger and better than ever. Over the next few months I will try to catch up all the sports and music news and even a bit of politics too, so why not sit back ad relax and let me get you up to speed. Allow me to reintroduce myself through my posts on yes golf, football, music, especially jazz and a bit of fashion.

New Administration That Will Be Invoking Change

New Administration That Will In