PHOTOS: 8th Annual Jazz in the Gardens Wows Attendees

Written by Red Carpet Shelley. Posted in Events, Photos, Red Carpet Shelley Home

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Published on March 21, 2013 with No Comments

Charlie Wilson Performs at Jazz in the Gardens
The 8th Annual Jazz in the Gardens held in Miami Gardens in South Florida is going from strength to strength. When the festival started in 2005, there were 2,500 attendees, 2012 had more than 30,000 and this year’s event anticipated even larger crowds at the two-day jazz and blues music festival held on March 16-17.
This correspondent has enjoyed six years of excellent music at Miami Jazz in the Gardens! The stellar line up on Saturday night was Najee, Fantasia, Babyface, Charlie Wilson and New Edition.
The event opened with local act Unselfish, a male acappella quartet that sang the National anthem. Local Artist Maria Z won a radio competition to appear — great soul singer. Local artist Sons of Mystro, two young Black violinists played hip-hop RnB and reggae and made their violins sing. They are truly talented.
Speaking of talent, at 6.10PM Fantasia, American Idol, and Grammy-award winner, hit the stage running, kicked off her shoes and rocked the crowd for more than an hour with her hit songs, Free yourself, When I see you, among others. In usual Fantasia fashion, she performed her heart out! Fantasia commanded the stage with energy, her voice had power and she held the audience in the palm of her hand. At the press conference held the night before at Pangea lounge in Hollywood, Fantasia was asked what could we expect at the show, she replied, we could expect her to be herself, expect some gospel, expect her to kick off her shoes, which she did. Fantasia gave a very down home yet at the same time sophisticated powerful performance. Her voice is magnificent and men and women alike were rocking to her. This correspondent screamed with delight when she sang my personal favorite, Collard greens and cornbread. Fantasia is truly Fantastic!
Kenneth “Babyface”Edmonds prolific songwriter sang a medley of hits he wrote, all were hits — some for himself and some for other singers, these included Soon as I get home from work, Don’t be cruel, I wanna rock with you baby, My my my , Whip Appeal. The crowd loved his performance.
Uncle Charlie, Introduced as First name Charlie, last name Wilson, former member of the Gap Band charged the stage energetically with his band members dressed in neon colors and his dancers in sequins and hot pants. Uncle Charlie always gives his all and is a great entertainer, excellent showmanship Charlie Wilson is the consummate performer, great lyricist, dancer, singer. He informed the audience he come back from crack/cocaine addiction, alcoholism, poverty, homelessness, prostate cancer and back surgery. He is 18 years clean and gives God thanks at all times. He moved wonderfully for someone who came back from back surgery. One of the many highlights of the show was when Charlie Wilson and his dancers had lights on their suits and the stage went black and you saw the lights dancing, really memorable. The evening ended with New Edition with all members singing and dancing for the 30.000 plus strong audience, half of whom were out-of-towners.
The lineup for the second night of the music festival was equally celestial as the first night with Gospel duo Mary Mary, Monica , Neyo, Nicole Henry (standing in at the last minute for Rachelle Ferrell who took ill) and the cosmic Earth, Wind and Fire celebrating 41 years.
Grammy-award winning sisters Erica and Tina better know as Mary Mary took us to church in the Gardens on a beautiful balmy 78 degrees , followed by Nicole Henry who stepped in on her birthday, covering for Rachelle. Nicole has a very nice voice and gave a marvelous bluesy rendition of Bob Marley’s I
Don’t Wanna Wait in Vain.
Atlanta-based RnB singer Monica gave a solid 45 minute set and she was well received. Her fans singing along to her songs. Neyo, also a prolific singer songwriter had the crowd grooving to his set. He took his tank top off and of course girls screamed. He was singing to me when he sang Miss Independent.
The finale to this two day musical extravaganza was the cosmic Earth Wind and Fire. the audience was a nice mix of young and mature folk and it was really nice to see young people singing Neyo’s songs and also singing EWF songs that were popular before they were even born. No matter how old you are everybody knows Reasons. As stated earlier EWF said they were celebrating 41 years together and one moment that brought back some nostalgia was the showing of a few clips of EWF back in the 70’s with afros and all, on the big screen behind them as the three original band members grooved on the stage. I heard a fellow journalist say that Phillip Bailey’s voice was “not there”. I respectfully disagree. When Mr Bailey hit those high notes on my personal favorite “Reasons”, all I could say was that his voice is still there. All in all one of the best music festivals I have attended.
Kudos to the City of Miami Gardens celebrating 10 years of incorporation, and 8 years of Jazz in the Gardens. Kudos also to the Mayor of Miami Gardens, Gilbert Olliver III and his council. See you next year.

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