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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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Get Motivated: A Star-Studded Lesson In Leadership

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The Bank Atlanta Center in Sunrise, Florida will come alive on Monday March 15, 2010, as the highly renowned motivational and leadership seminar – “GET MOTIVATED” rolls into town. Get Motivated is famous for its high energy, action-packed, star-studded, fun-filled, spectacular stage show. CNN, 60 Minutes, USA Today, TIME, PEOPLE, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal all rave about it! This motivational mega-show packs more inspirational firepower than a stick of dynamite!

The star-studded panel of speakers for the Sunrise, Florida includes General Colin Powell, Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade, former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani, America’s Most Wanted John Walsh, Legendary President of Microsoft Rick Belluzzo, NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Don Marino and Get Motivated’s Tamara Lowe. This group brings together a wealth of knowledge in various fields of business and will share some of their success with attendees. General Powell has gained a name for himself as a public servant, goodwill ambassador and the voice of veterans every. He is even more famous to his family and highly revered as a mentor. John Walsh has led the fight for missing children, having lost his very own son. Walsh’s show “America Most Wanted” has assisted law enforcement officers nationwide to bring criminals to justice. Dwayne Wade and Don Marino are both sports legends who know enough about teamwork to work the crowd. While I have seen Rudi Giuliani’s speeches during the last presidential campaign, but prefers him as mayor of New York and of course, Rick Belluzzo brings his body of work from Microsoft.

For more than 25 years, corporate leaders, Fortune 500 companies, educators, business owners, sales people, medical professionals and more have made Peter and Tamara Lowe’s GET MOTIVATED! America’s #1 Business Seminar. The husband-wife team Peter and Tamara Lowe, are the dynamic duo who create and produce The GET MOTIVATED! Seminar, and have been happily married for 20 years.

Together they have built numerous successful companies, travelled to more than 100 countries, served as advisors to the world’s most influential leaders and are the proud parents of two terrific sons. Peter and Tamara make their home in South Florida. So tomorrow when the curtains roll up on this one I will have a pad and paper ready to take notes and will be sure to report back.

EVENT SOLUTIONS MAGAZINE NOMINATES “DESIGNER OF THE YEAR”

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

South Florida’s premier event producer, Fè Domenech, of Miami’s “The Event Firm” (TEF) has been nominated for the 2010 “Designer of the Year” Spotlight Award by the prestigious Event Solutions Magazine. Event Solutions Magazine has recognized top industry companies and professionals from all over the world since 1998. Fè Domenech has been nominated for this honorable award for six consecutive years, consistently proving to be an international top designer. In order to be nominated for the award, the designer has to demonstrate superb ability, creativity and achievement in the design of events and/or event décor. Since 2005, TEF has been a national leader in the event design industry, resulting in numerous honors for consistently creating cutting edge and spectacular designs. Among them are the 2008 ISES Award for Design and multiple recognitions for Service and Design in nationwide publications.

Domenech is the CEO and lead designer of The Event Firm, which is the go-to agency of the stars both in the corporate and entertainment world. Prestigious clients have all sought out the award-winning agency. Some of its clientele include: John Travolta, CitiGroup, UNIVISION, NASCAR, MTV, HBO, BMG, Louis Vuitton, Sony, NCR, The Agency, Dignitaries and many DMC companies. As a preferred designer for Nikki Beach South Beach, TEF recently produced the ‘New Year’s Eve Spectacular’ at Nikki Beach in St. Barts where Beyonce performed live. Some of the guests at this new year’s star-studded event were; Jay-z, Usher, Lindsay Lohan, Bon Jovi, and Todd English, to name a few. TEF has also produced the ‘Tropical Nights’ event for the University of Miami Autism Foundation at the Biltmore Hotel, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of South Florida’s 2009 Fashion Ball in the Fontainebleau Hotel, MARS for Moss Warner at The Harbor Beach Marriott, The Liberty Mutual soirée at Casa Casuarina, and the Operation Helmet Gala.

Event Solutions Magazine hosts The Spotlight Awards Event each year and brings top industry professionals together to network, celebrate and experience the newest in awards presentation strategies and events. Spotlight Award recipients will be announced at the Spotlight Awards Event at Event Solutions Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas on March 8, 2010. “I’m honored to be a finalist as well as grateful to be able to do what I love as my career,” states Fè Domenech. “What greater gift can I ask for than creating ever lasting memories by transforming dreams into reality for my wonderful clients.”

Born in Cuba, raised in Minnesota and having lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami, Domenech not only has immaculate taste, but also has her finger on the pulse of up-and-coming design trends. The goal behind all of The Event Firms creations is to supersede any client’s dreams and expectations. This boutique agency works as a full-service production company for one-of-a-kind designs and includes in-house production capabilities such as, master carpenters, set designers, seamstresses, fine catering, film and video editing, culinary teams and event producers that are always ready to customize any soiree.

TEF plans to continue its growth and further develop its reputation as a trendsetter. Its ultimate goal for every event is to have its designs inspire recreation. For more information on the company please visit their website at: http://www.theeventfirm.net.

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.