By Steven Larkin
Be prepared for an extraordinary weekend of natural fun with musical giants from all facets of genre at the upcoming 11th annual Jazz in the Gardens. The City of Miami Gardens welcomes you to attend to what has grown to be one of the premier musical events in the country. Mayor Oliver Gilbert shared that this is the one event in that creates an enormous economic stimulus for South Florida. Mayor Gilbert went on to say that he has attended every concert since Jazz in Gardens inception moreover that he is amazed with its growth and the delighted that people from all around the country take a weekend to enjoy the sun and fun in South Florida. Over 75,000 party people enjoyed the sun and fun last year!
This year’s star studded line-up will include an array of musical legends featuring Aretha Franklin, Kool and the Gang, Usher, Michael McDonald, Average White Band, Janelle Monae, Kenny “Baby Face” Edmonds, Fred Hammond, Brain Culbertson and the incomparable Najee.
Najee, the poet of Jazz, who is celebrating his 30th year in the music business, will have his “AllStars” ensemble on stage to engage the audience with his infectious rhythm, spirit, chameleonic sounds and well-grounded jazz. The Najee “AllStars” will roll out featuring Regina Bell and the prolific Alex Bugnon on the piano. Jazz buffs should be ready to hear Najee play tunes from his recently released his new CD “You, Me and Forever”, especially his smash single “Fly With The Wind” and his rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobims “Wave”. No doubt he may also play favorite renditions of Earth Wind and Fire along with Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life”.
To have an idea about Najee the consummate Jazz musician, you must understand that as a teenager, growing up in Jamaica, Queens, New York, he was inspired by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, and Grover Washington Jr. Najee shared “ he was always surrounded by music, being blessed to have a pretty good mentor and teacher, who specialized in the saxophone by the name of Jimmy “Little Bird” Heath.” When he had idle time as a young clarinet player he would often go to Harlem and just hang out with a fellow by the name of Roy Ayers. Najee shared “Roy was so kind and real”, he would allow him to just be in the room, while he and other musicians were creating melodies in the studio. When asked what has made him the talented man he is today he replied “it’s simple, he gives God all of the praise for His mercy and blessings.”
Najee also shared that “this isn’t my 1st rodeo at Jazz in the Gardens”, having played there in the past, which makes him look forward to the ambiance and joy that radiates in the air at the festival.
If you are looking for a fun time this weekend, please consider joining the party with a fleet of Grammy Award winners at Jazz in Gardens March 19 & 20, in the beautiful City of Miami Gardens, Florida. For more information visit www.jazzinthegardens.com