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9th Annual Jazz In The Gardens – Doing It Right

March 12, 2014 Leave a comment
9th Annual Jazz in the Gardens poster

9th Annual Jazz in the Gardens poster

The ninth installment of South Florida’s uber jazz festival dubbed “Jazz in the Gardens 9” gets on the way from March 15-16, 2014, on the grounds of the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  In case, you have been hiding under a rock for the last eight years, Jazz in the Gardens (“JITG9”) was created by the former City of Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson.  Over the past eight years, JITG has been held as a two-day festival, but this year, the organizers  added the first annual opening night party featuring the 80s Dazz Band with the SOS Band, to  be held at Calder Casino & Race Course on March 14.  This musical extravaganza has grown to become highly regarded in comparison to its counterparts around the country, and is definitely a “must-see and must go” for music lovers both nationally and internationally, attracting some 63,000 fans in 2013. The JITG stage has been graced by some of the music world’s biggest icons  from across the globe.  With artists such as Jonathan Butler, Angelique Kidjo, KEM, O’Jays, Isley Brothers, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Common, Erykah Badu, Nancy Wilson, Kenny G, Stanley Clarke and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly (Clarke and Maze are both returning this year), so one could definitely say music fans were have been treated to a musical feast for the past eight years.  JITG9’s lineup of musical acts will satisfy the young at heart and the seasoned fan, who enjoys a little Soul, Hip Hop, R&B Classics and would even get down with some Adult Contemporary flavor.  The opening night party will reintroduced fans to the 80s hot shot bands, from Cleveland, Ohio’s Dazz Band (Let It Whip) to Atlanta’s very own SOS Band (Take Your Time – Do It Right), it should be a show with each band parading their hits, as both bands have had their fair share.  Saturday’s lineup will showcase the stylings of jazz man himself Boney James, R&B crooners Mint Condition, Trey Songz and Jamie Foxx and R&B goddess Kelly Rowland.  When Rachelle Ferrell, Stanley Clarke, Anthony Hamilton and LL COOL J hit the stage on Sunday, all of the fans on the grounds of the Sun Life Stadium will be blown away by the  musical diversity. But with all the saxophone, bass guitars and showmanship,  closing out Sunday night will be the incomparable, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, who is also returning to JITG9 and whose existence and track record needs no further  introduction. With such hits as “Happy Feelings,” “Workin Together,” and “Lady of Magic,” this group who arrived on the scene in 1977 ha snot missed a beat since.  For the true JITG fan, the festival is not only about the music and the artists performing, JITG is about bringing  cultures together, it is about the foods, the friendships and the vibes.  JITG9 will bring together vendors and their culinary creations from vegetarian to BBQ, so bring your healthy appetite.  Every good music festival surely needs a great host, so for JITG9 comedian/actor D.L. Hughley signed on to be the Emcee.  Hughley will have some big shoes to fill as “Fly Jock” Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden brought their A game to JITG previously.  However, Hughley is no slouch, he is one of the four Original Kings of Comedy and has launched his own daily radio show – “The D.L. Hughley Show, which airs on Reach Media Network and done his own HBO special. Bring on the fun stuff – I know you will DL.

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Pianist Joe Sample To Headline At 5th Annual Jazz In The Gardens

March 3, 2010 Leave a comment


The 5th Annual Jazz In The Gardens is gearing up to welcome legendary jazz master and pianist Joe Sample, to be one of the headliners on day one, of the highly-anticipated music festival. Jazz In The Gardens will be held on the grounds of the new Sunlife Stadium (formerly Dolphins Stadium) from March 20-21, 2010. Over the last five years, the music fest has attracted several national and international artists and Joe Sample’s appearance this year will just add more star power to this great event.

Joe has longed been a favorite of mine, this legendary performer could easily be known as the king of hard bop, and should also be credited for his switch to electronic piano in the fusion era. Joseph Leslie “Joe” Sample was born on February 1, 1939 in Houston, Texas. He is an pianist, keyboard player and composer. As one of the founding members of the Jazz Crusaders (the band which became simply The Crusaders in 1971) Sample remained a part of the group until its final album in 1991.

Sample began playing the piano when he was five years old. Since the early 1980s, he has enjoyed a successful solo career, making guest appearances on many recordings by other performers and groups, including Miles Davis, George Benson, Jimmy Witherspoon, B. B. King, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, and The Supremes. Sample who is famous for fusing jazz, gospel, blues, Latin, and classical forms into his music, seperating him from the other talented pianist like David Beniot and Monte Alexander.

While in high school in the 1950s, Sample teamed up with two friends, saxophonist Wilton Felder and drummer “Stix” Hooper, to form a group called the Swingsters. While studying piano at Texas Southern University, Sample met and added trombonist Wayne Henderson and several other players to the Swingsters, which became the Modern Jazz Sextet and then the Jazz Crusaders, in emulation of one of the leading progressive jazz bands of the day, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

Sample never earned a degree from Texas Southern; instead in 1960, he and the Jazz Crusaders made the move from Houston to Los Angeles. The group quickly found success on the West Coast, making its first recording, Freedom Sounds in 1961. The Jazz Crusaders released up to four albums a year for much of the 1960s. The Jazz Crusaders played at first in the dominant hard bop style of the day, standing out by virtue of their unusual front-line combination of saxophone (played by Wilton Felder) and Henderson’s trombone. Another distinctive quality was the funky, rhythmically appealing acoustic piano playing style of Sample, who helped steer the group’s sound into a fusion between jazz and soul in the late 1960s. The Jazz Crusaders became a strong concert draw during those years.

While Sample and his band mates continued to work together, he and the other band members pursued individual work as well. In 1969 Sample made his first recording under his own name; Fancy Dance featured the pianist as part of a jazz trio. In the 1970s, as the Jazz Crusaders became simply the Crusaders and branched out into popular sounds, Sample became known as a L.A. studio musician, appearing on recordings by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, B. B. King, Joe Cocker, Minnie Riperton and Anita Baker. In 1975 he went into the studios with jazz legends Ray Brown on bass, and drummer Shelly Manne to produce a then state-of-the-art recording direct to disc entitled The Three. About this time Blue Note reissued some of the early work by the Jazz Crusaders as “The Young Rabbits.” This was a compilation of their recordings done between 1962-68.

The electric keyboard was fairly new at the time, and Sample became one of the instrument’s pioneers. He switched to electric keyboard for his recordings with the Crusaders themselves, and the group hit a commercial high-water mark with the hit single “Street Life” and the album of the same name in 1979. In 1978 he did a joint session with guitarist David T. Walker, Swing Street Café, which had all the feel of a live set done in a back street joint in Texas.

The Crusaders, after losing several key members, broke up after recording Life in the Modern World for the GRP label in 1987. Despite the disbanding of the Crusaders, the members would join each other to record periodically over the years; releasing Healing the Wounds in the early ’90s. Felder, Hooper, and Sample recorded their first album, called Rural Renewal, as the reunited Crusaders group in 2003 and did a live concert in Japan in 2004.
Since Sample’s Fancy Dance (1969), he has recorded several solo albums, including the George Duke produced Sample This.

GRP also released Joe Sample Collection, and a three disc Crusaders Collection, as testament to Sample’s enduring legacy. The pianist’s most recent recordings are The Song Lives On (1999), featuring duets with singer Lalah Hathaway, and The Pecan Tree (2002), a tribute to his hometown of Houston, where he relocated in 1994. His 2004 album on Verve, Soul Shadows, paid tribute to Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton, and pre-jazz bandleader James Reese Europe. In 2007 he recorded Feeling Good with vocalist Randy Crawford.
Some of his works are featured on The Weather Channel’s “Local On The 8s” segments and his song “Rainbow Seeker” is included in their 2008 compilation release, The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II. Nicole Kidman sang his song “One Day I’ll Fly Away” in the Baz Luhrmann film Moulin Rouge!.

Jazz In The Gardens is brought to you by the City Of Miami Gardens and is produced by Circle Of One Marketing. Last year close to 40,000 attended Jazz in the Gardens and enjoyed incredible performances by Kenny G, Babyface, Frankie Beverly, Roy Ayers, Erykah Badu, and a host of other world renown artists. Also appearing with Joe Sample on Saturday will be Mary J. Blige, Robin THicke, TeenaMarie, K’Jon, Rachel Brown, Kwan Debosse and Jon Saxx. Sunday’s lineup includes, David Sanborn, Cassanra Wilson, John Legend, Boys II Men, Melanie Fiona, Eric Roberson and Jovie.

THE 4TH ANNUAL JAZZ IN THE GARDENS / “UPTOWN ESCAPE” CELEBRITY

March 1, 2010 Leave a comment


The City of Miami Gardens, Florida will kick off its 5th Annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival
with the Jazz in the Gardens Celebrity Golf Classic co‐hosted by “Uptown Escape” on March
19th. The Jazz in the Gardens Celebrity Golf Classic has developed a solid reputation boasting
celebrity golfers such as Julius “Dr J” Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Edgerrin James, Nat Moore, Tim
Hardaway, The Ojay’s and a host of others.
“The Golf Tournament has grown into one of the hot tickets associated with the festival. Our
corporate sponsors and guests come out and spend a wonderful day of golf with athletes and
celebrities they admire,” says Jazz in the Gardens Event Producer Leon Saunders.
This year, the City of Miami Gardens is joined by “Uptown Escape” in presenting the annual Golf
Classic, a move which is sure to complement an already illustrious experience. Uptown
Magazine and Peter Thomas Entertainment, producers of the Uptown Escape, are recognized
as proponents of the upscale lifestyle and their inclusion will certainly add flavor to the entire
weekend. In addition to a first‐class golf excursion, guests are simultaneously welcomed to
enjoy a premium networking experience.
This year’s tournament will be held at the Soffer Golf Course at the prestigious Fairmont
Turnberry Isle Resort & Club. Over $45 million was devoted to the two on‐property golf courses
that are more beautiful and more enjoyable to play than ever before. World Golf Hall of Famer
Raymond Floyd completely redesigned both championship courses from tee to green and the
results are nothing short of spectacular. In doing so, he also changed the landscape of Florida
golf. It’s golf unlike any other in the Sunshine State with gently contoured fairways, doglegs,
spectacular water features, and more elevation changes than is often seen in this part of the
state. Turnberry Isle is one of the nation’s most critically acclaimed golf courses claiming
notable members such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.

Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival Announces Their 2010 Headliners

December 10, 2009 1 comment

The City of Miami Gardens is pleased to announce the star-studded lineup for the 5th Annual “Jazz in the Gardens” hosted by #1 rated, nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, taking place on Saturday, March 20th and Sunday, March 21st at Dolphin (Landshark) Stadium, 2269 Dan Marino Blvd, Miami Gardens, Florida 33056.

Confirmed artists include the queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige; Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, John Legend; R&B crooner, Robin Thicke; funk/R&B diva, Teena Marie; 90’s R&B/pop super group, Boyz II Men; Grammy nominated R&B vocalist, Melanie Fiona; jazz chanteuse, Cassandra Wilson; saxophone king, David Sanborn; already classic newcomer, K’Jon; and famed pianist, keyboarder and founding member of the Jazz Crusaders, Joe Sample. Local artist names will be released soon.

Jazz in the Gardens, a two-day weekend festival is now in its fifth year and has grown to be one of the top cultural events in America. The jazz festival delivers a diverse mix of music genres and mixes jazz, pop, R&B, Neo-soul and Caribbean flavors, having something to offer all music aficionados at an affordable price.

“I am proud to proclaim “Jazz in the Gardens” as an undeniable premier stop on the national festival circuit. With audiences coming from international and domestic markets, it has become a major destination event for anyone seeking the combined ambience of fabulous music, sunshine, great food, shopping and beautiful people all in one setting,” says Shirley Gibson, Mayor Miami Gardens.

The 4th Annual Jazz in the Gardens shattered expected ticket sales, enjoying an attendance of almost 40,000, more than double the sales of the 2008 festival. In 2009, the “Jazz in the Gardens” crowd enjoyed performances by Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Kenny G, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Erykah Badu, Common, Roy Ayers, Jonathan Butler, Will Downing, and Angelique Kidjo. This year’s line-up raises the bar yet again!

For more information on the highly-anticipated 5th Annual “Jazz in the Gardens” Hosted by Tom Joyner, go to http://www.jazzinthegardens.com or contact the City of Miami Gardens at 1-877-640-5299. All media inquiries should be directed to Circle of One Marketing at 305.576.3790.

The City of Miami Gardens was incorporated on May 13, 2003, as the 33rd city in Miami-Dade County. At a population of approximately 10,000, it is the third largest city in Miami-Dade County. Miami Gardens is a solid, working and middle class community of unique diversity. It is the largest predominantly African-American municipality in the State of Florida and boasts many Caribbean residents. In 2007, the City hosted the 41st annual Super Bowl. The City recently hosted the 2009 college BCS championship game and in 2010, will host the 44th Super Bowl.

For general information on the festival, visit http://www.jazzinthegardens.com or call the event hotline at: 305-622-8043. For vendor and sponsor opportunities, contact Vendor Express at 954-275-3092. All media inquiries should be directed to Circle of One Marketing at 305.576.3790.

Natalie Cole Pulls Out Of Capital Jazz Festival Due To Illness

May 23, 2009 2 comments

natalie cole

Natalie Cole, originally scheduled to perform at the Capital Jazz Fest on Friday, June 5, has canceled her summer touring plans due to medical issues related to her recent kidney transplant.  We wish Natalie the best in her recovery and hope to have her back to perform at a future festival.

However, Chaka Khan has graciously offered to step in to replace Natalie at the festival. Khan, the ten-time Grammy-winner, known for her many hits including “Sweet Thing”, “Through The Fire”, “I’m Every Woman”, and “Tell Me Something Good”, will perform as part of the Friday, June 5 lineup. Chaka Khan will share the bill with Fourplay, which should make for an awesome kickoff to this three-day weekend of cool jazz and soul! We all wish Natalie Cole a speedy recovery and hope that the Capital Jazz Fest will be a stop on her next tour.

RIP Wayman!!!

May 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Rest In Peace Wayman

Rest In Peace Wayman


Today we mourn the death of Wayman Lawrence Tisdale (June 9, 1964 – May 15, 2009). We pray for his family, and hope that we can all vow to continue the fight against cancer. Wayman, thanks for the sports highlights and the wonderful music you made. May Your soul rest in peace. Tisdale is survived by wife Regina and their four children.

Will Downing Is So Amazing

April 14, 2009 1 comment

Will Downing Back On Track
Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter Will Downing’s career extends over some two decades. With these valuable years under his belt, Downing has gotten better lyrically and excelled musically. He brings a very unique style to his ballads and his music could be classified as R&B, Soul, Smooth Jazz or Adult Contemporary. Lyrically he is a masterful and gifted writer and vocally he has an extremely distinct and accomplished sound, both of which is a winning combination for the “long haul” needed to succeed as an artist.

Downing has earned his keeps on the musical sound stage as he surely did not arrive on a silver platter overnight. After working behind the scenes with 1980s club producer King Arthur Baker and songbird Jennifer Holiday, Downing ventured out on his own to work on his solo project. His self-titled debut album (“Will Downing’) was released in 1988. Since 1988 Downing has presented his music and engaging live performances to hundreds of fans worldwide. He has toured extensively in Europe and the US, with venues ranging from intimate club settings to large outdoor concerts and music festivals. Will Downing’s music has been consistent and his signature brassy bedroom voice has coupled with female vocalists like of Phyllis Hyman, Chante Moore and Rachel Farrell. He has collaborated with the like of Gerald Albright and Jonathan Butler and appeared on stage with George Duke, Jonathan Butler, Art Porter, Regina Belle and Lee Ritenour among other jazz greats.

Downing has given his fans the pleasure of listening to his rather seductive voice blended with musical arrangements which makes his music on even comparison to the late Barry White as far as love ballads are concerned. Famed music producer Rex Rideout has been a staple on quite a number of his albums. The Lyrics from songs like “Do You Still Love Me”, “ Don’t Talk To Me Like That”, ”Million Ways” and “After Tonight” could be the topics taught in the Love 101 class for men or women at the local college. The lyrics cut deeply into you love conscience, forcing you to be “perfect in love” or simply to try be.

Will Downing to his fans is this one consummate music professional, who did not disappoint, and is considered to be an invincible giant in the music business. But two years ago, when we all found out that he was ill; it was a reality check no one was willing to cash. Downing was diagnosed with Polymyositis a muscular inflammatory disease which took over his life as he would have known it. He was hospitalized for a long period of time and faced the biggest challenge of his life. But the disease did not overcome him totally; as he fought back with courage and faith and mustered up the energy to record his latest album entitled “After Tonight”. While fulfilling a promise to his fans in South Florida at the recently concluded Miami Gardens “Jazz In The Gardens” music festival. Downing stated that he was happy to have recovered from the illness; he said it was a pleasure to play in front of his fans, who were very disappointed when he had to cancel his appearance for last year’s Jazz In The Gardens. Downing also spoke candidly about his illness and the making of the After Tonight album. He spoke of the challenges he faced being in a wheel chair and while doing the vocals for some of the tracks on After Tonight. But all this courage has paid off for him, as he is back on tour and working in the studio. As to his performance at Jazz In The Gardens, he completed a red hot set and was every bit animated like the Will of old.

Downing will wind down promotion of the After Tonight album to focus on the completion and upcoming release of his latest recording entitled “Classique” which is due “to drop” on or about June 24, 2009. Will also revealed that he is undecided as to which song he will release as a single from Classique. Judging from his repertoire of musical hits, fans will not be disappointed. While we are all eagerly awaiting his next record, let enjoy cuts from “After Tonight” like So Amazing, After Tonight, Satisfy You and All I Need Is You. No doubt you will realize that those are my favorite cuts from the album, so go ahead and decide on yours.