The magic continues
Heads of State(Bobby Brown/Johnny Gill/Ralph Tresvant)!
With the likes of Grammy award-winning artists Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, John Legend, Teena Marie, Boyz II Men, Cassandra Wilson and David Sanbord rocking the house, most people who attended Jazz in the Gardens last year were left wondering just how organizers could top that show, but with the explosive line-up announced for the 6th Jazz in the Gardens Festival, March 19-20 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, they’ve lined up a field that will certainly surpass last year’s experience to make this experience second to none.
Last year hundreds of Bahamians were among the estimated 45,000 fans that flocked to Sun Life Stadium, with at least 30 of those persons enjoying the rocking concert, courtesy ofThe Nassau Guardianand Star 106.5 FM, and this year we’ll be doing it again, giving away six packages with airfare for two, hotel accommodations for two and concert tickets for two to both nights for six lucky couples. Another 30 tickets for two will also be given away between now and Saturday, March 12 for those persons that just have to be there to catch another year of exhilarating performances.
The Saturday, March 19 line up will feature electrifying performances by Lauryn Hill, Charlie Wilson, Al Jarreau, Jazmine Sullivan and Heads of State(Bobby Brown/Johnny Gill/Ralph Tresvant).
The Sunday, March 20, 2011 line up features R&B legends Gladys Knight, En Vogue, El DeBarge, Lalah Hathaway and Branford Marsalis performing their classic hits. Joining the star-studded cast, and adding his unique and internationally renowned mixing skills, is Miami’s own bright star, D.J. Irie, the official DJ for the Miami Heat and now”Jazz in the Gardens.”
Hill can be called the mother of hip-hop invention. With her 1998 solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the Fugees’most vocal member not only established herself as a creative force on her own, but also broke new ground by successfully integrating rap, soul, reggae, and R&B into her own sound.
One of the most distinguished voices in R&B music, and the former lead singer of the funkadelic brotherly trio, the GAP Band, is now going two for two with his second solo album on Jive Records, entitled”Uncle Charlie.”The album, released in February 2009, debuted at number one on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Chart and number two on the Billboard Hot 200. The album debut was a career high for Wilson, charting higher than any of his previous projects, including the music he recorded with the GAP Band.
While Wilson may be an R&B icon he is also known for his up-tempo party jams,”You Dropped A Bomb on Me”and”Early in the Morning.””Uncle Charlie”features a funky dance track titled”Let It Out”featuring Snoop Dogg.
Al Jarreau’s unique vocal style is one of the world’s most precious treasures. His innovative musical expressions have made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time with hits such as 1976’s Glow(“Rainbow In Your Eyes”one of Al’s first ever charting tunes), 1977’s Look to the Rainbow(“Take Five”), 1980’s This Time(“Spain”,”Never Givin’Up”), 1981’s Breakin’Away(“Roof Garden,””We’re In This Love Together”), 1983’s Jarreau(“Mornin’,””Boogie Down”), 1984’s High Crime(“After All”), 1988’s Heart’s Horizon(“So Good”)and Accentuate The Positive(“Cold Duck”), along with other gemstones”Moonlighting,”the theme from the hit TV series; Grammy-winning virtuosic”(Round, Round, Round,)Blue Rondo A La Turk”, and”We Got By”(from Al’s debut album of the same name).
HEADS OF STATE
Three lead singers of the 1980’s R&B boy band known as New Edition–Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant–now make up Heads of State
The Philadelphia native’s 2008 debut album”Fearless”bowed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and spawned three Top 10 singles:”Need You Bad”(which topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart, the first time a debuting female artist had achieved this in nearly four years),”Bust Your Windows,”and”Lions, Tigers&Bears”as well as for”In Love With Another Man.”
Her latest album delivers beyond expectations on”Love Me Back”–a vibrant, musically diverse collection that sets soulful R&B melodies to inventive, hip-hop-inspired beats. The album is a rich showcase for Sullivan’s powerhouse vocals and unique storytelling gifts on songs like”10 Seconds,””Redemption,””Good Enough,”and”U Get On My Nerves,”a duet with her friend Ne-Yo.
The great ones endure, and Gladys Knight has long been one of the greatest. She is best known as the lead vocalist of Gladys Knight and The Pips, a group that produced lush harmonies and graceful choreography, and achieved icon status, with memorable songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Top 20 hits, like”Every Beat of My Heart,””Letter Full of Tears,””I Heard it Through the Grapevine”and”If I Were Your Woman,”which set the stage for an amazing run in the mid-1970s, with Top 10 gold-certified singles like”Neither One of Us(Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye),””I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,””Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me”and the number one smash”Midnight Train to Georgia.”
The party kept rolling with hits like”On and On”from the Academy Award nominated soundtrack of Curtis Mayfield’s”Claudine,”the 1974 comedy about love in the inner city. Knight enjoyed another number one hit in 1985 when she teamed with Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Dionne Warwick on”That’s What Friends are For.”
Knight fans are still enjoying her latest album, Before Me, which pays homage to the great legends of song–Ella, Duke, Billie, Lena–as well as the many artists who served as Knight’s friends, mentors, colleagues and inspiration throughout her career. Before Me features such timeless material as Holiday’s”God Bless the Child,”Horne’s”Stormy Weather,”and Ellington’s”Come Sunday.”
Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones and Cindy Herron-Braggs–the women that are En Vogue. The name rings more than a bell. It invokes memories of a long line of red-hot R&B and pop smashes recorded in the 1990s–songs like”Hold On,””My Lovin'(You’re Never Gonna Get It),””Giving Him Something He Can Feel,””Free Your Mind,”and”Whatta Man”featuring Salt-N-Pepa, are just a sampling of the mega hits made famous by the Pop/R&B super group.
Fusing style, sophistication, sass, and sex appeal, the En Vogue formula was magical and the group went on to sell over eight million albums. In total, En Vogue recorded five albums: 1990’s”Born To Sing;”1992’s”Funky Divas;”1997’s”EV3;”2000’s”Masterpiece Theatre;”and 2002’s”The Gift of Christmas.”There have also been several compilations released including 1999’s”Best of En Vogue”and 2001’s”The Very Best of En Vogue.”
With”Second Chance,”one of R&B’s most distinctive and celebrated voices returns to the spotlight after more than a decade and a half away. The album tells the story of DeBarge’s redemption following a period of personal turmoil, which included a stint in prison. His triumphant appearance at the 2010 BET Awards, which instantly lit up the international soul blogosphere, was just the first step in a remarkable story of personal and creative transformation.
The sixth of 10 DeBarge children, El DeBarge’s signature falsetto anchored 16 Top 10 hits, both with the family group, DeBarge(“All This Love,””I Like It,””Time Will Reveal”)and as a solo artist(“Rhythm of the Night,””Who’s Holding Donna Now”). In 1990, El teamed up with Quincy Jones to create the unforgettable smash”The Secret Garden,”which also featured Barry White, Al B. Sure!, and James Ingram. The last new music he released was 1994’s acclaimed Heart, Mind, and Soul.
In the great DeBarge tradition, most of”Second Chance”is concerned with matters of the heart, but El’s own tribulations and lessons echo through many of the songs.”Joyful,”he says, is about”embracing the struggle, not trying to resist, and knowing that you’re going to win–not just thinking that you can win, but that you will.”The impassioned”Sad Song,”produced by Christian”Davis”Stalnecker, resonates with”what I’ve gone through in relationships, some of my heartbreak,”according to DeBarge.”Things I’ve lost to drugs, relationships damaged, and also everyday situations, just somebody treating somebody wrong.
Born to Donny Hathaway, one of the most influential soul artists of the 80s, and Eulaulah Hathaway, an accomplished musician in her own right, the Chicago native as a student at Berklee College of Music, recorded her self-titled debut in 1990, which spawned the hits”Baby Don’t Cry,””Heaven Only Knows”and”I’m Coming Back.”She returned four years later with”A Moment,”followed by the much-lauded”The Song Lives On,”her duet album with Joe Sample in 1999. By 2004, she’d delivered her fourth album,”Outrun the Sky,”garnering Hathaway her first number one single, the Rex Rideout-produced cover of Luther Vandross'”Forever, For Always, For Love,”which was also featured on the critically-acclaimed Vandross tribute album of the same name.
With”Self Portrait”(Stax Records/Concord Music Group), her fifth studio album, including the Joe Sample duet, and one which she co-wrote and co-produced, Hathaway is poised to express who she is, where she is, today, at this very moment.
Leading the 12-song collection is”Let Go,”a dance-oriented, up-tempo number she produced with Rex Rideout and wrote alongside Rahsaan Patterson. And just as the title suggests, the song is about acknowledging and releasing whatever’s not working to make room for the next experience.
World-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis, born in 1960, has always been a man of numerous musical interests, from jazz, blues and funk to such classical music projects as his Fall 2008 tour with Marsalis Brasilianos.
The New Orleans native was born into one of the city’s most distinguished musical families, which includes patriarch/pianist/educator Ellis and Branford’s siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. Branford gained initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and his brother Wynton’s quintet in the early 1980s before forming his own ensemble. He has also performed and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins.
In recent years, Branford also has become increasingly active as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf and North Carolina Symphonies and the Boston Pops, in a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Mihaud, Rorem and Vaughan Williams.
Jazz in the Gardens owes its success to a simple formula–a star-studded line-up–and for the sixth annual festival, organizers have definitely outdone themselves. This is one two-night event you don’t want to miss. AndThe Nassau Guardianreaders and Star 106.5 FM listeners have their chance to win complete packages for a fabulous weekend, and concert tickets. All they have to do is readThe Nassau Guardianand listen to Star 106.5 FM.
THE LINE UP
Saturday, March 19
Ms. Lauryn Hill
Heads of State(Bobby Brown/Johnny Gill/Ralph Tresvant)
Sunday, March 20