Jamaica Magazine

Review: Jazz in The Gardens 2012

Jazz in The Gardens, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens Fla, March 17-18, 2012

Mayor Shirley Gibson knows how to throw a party, with a few (20.000-40,000 depending on who’s reporting) of her closest family and friends! She orders up the perfect cool weather, chiding the few raindrops that dared make an appearance; she calls on the elegant and sophisticated MC Lyte (she hast changed! From back in tha day :o) to coordinate the evening’s events, and then she taps a few performers to grace her stage, and throws in a gazillion food and merchandise vendors. Aah evening delight! The event was fairly well orchestrated, the crowd well behaved, and might I say just sexy- I mean this was an eclectic mix of people, but they looked GOOD and all seemed to have had a great time, including a bow-tie-less Minister Louis Farrakhan, jamming to Mary J. Blige. Yep you heard me right!

Here are some other random thoughts of the performances:

Doug E. Fresh the human beatbox still got it! Still going strong. He held an impressive ‘sound’ segment for what seemed like 5 minutes! One breath- I’m trying to decide who I would want to rescue me if I was ever tied up underwater and couldn’t escape (don’t ask why I’d be especially since I cant swim, just if it were ever to happen ok)- Doug E. or Kenny G (more on him on Sunday). All the old school beats came back and held the crowd in their grip. You could feel the clock flipping back to a sweeter, more innocent and FUN time as he recounted multiple classics and thrilled us especially with “La Di Da Di”.  Oh and he brought up some young boys to “Teach Me How to Dougie”, showing a couple different levels of how to do the moves.

Ledisi – pronounced Lead-e-see NOT Led-dee-see LOL. What a strong, powerful, sultry, and at times sassy voice. She was soulful and yet connected with her audience, to the point where she tossed off her shoes, proclaimed: “I aint scared a none y’all” and proceeded to prance thru the audience while singing. She just got one more CD sold. I’m saying, if you don’t already, get thee to a store/a music download site, and hook yourself up to some Ledisi- pure magic!

Kemwas as always was ever impressive- impeccably dressed and tailor-made– for love under the stars!! What!! As he said, you can be 40 and have ‘it be tight and right’ or was it ‘high and tight’- either way, he had the women swooning with his smooth love songs including ‘how did you find your way back… into my life”. The men couldn’t be mad at him though, he reminded them that once they turned on one of his records, he was doing 50% of the work for them. Can’t help but acknowledge that truth. Kem for president!!!

Jilly from Philly Looking hot- lamenting lost love, yet hopeful for new hot sweaty and nasty (shhh) love. Guess I never listened closely to Crown Royal because I never noticed the praises given to ‘thickness’. Where was I? If you knew then she’s right- ‘y’all are naaaasssttty”. Song after song, she blessed us though- a fantastic end to the night. It was later than expected, but there were no complaints from any of us who waited till the end (and that was most of the 20, 000 in attendance).


Kevin Eubanks – I missed his performance, cause, well you know how we do sometimes! He was reportedly a crowd pleaser- Spent time in the tent after his performance and explained that he left the Tonight show after 15? years because he wanted to travel like he used to and see the world- attend events like this where he can hang with cool people and have different experiences. It was great to have him in tha Gardens jazzing it UP!!

Kenny G - All the songs you don’t know the names of but know every single chord, can hum every note and doo-doo-doot to each lilt of his horn? All those? Yeah he brought those and more. Oh ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ on the horn!!?!? Oh oh oh!!! That there boy can BLOW!!! Mercy! He gave away a pre-saliva-ed sax to one lucky winner! After serenading her with it- she shyly told him she always wanted one, so for sure her heart will bleed when she auctions it off on Ebay. No, Miss Frances (the winner) was adorable and it was great to see his interaction with an obvious fan of music. 

 Patti Labelle – 50 yrs in the business and 67 yrs young?!~?! Unbelievable, the voice remains unsurpassed. Yet still a diva, replete with a line of shoes on her piano and her ever-present hand mirror to make sure she was on point. ‘On My Own’- sung with her pianist! Ahm can you say chills? Can u feel chills in Miami Gardens? Miss Patti Labelle brung-T- it!!!! All the way here- You HEARD! She brought up 3 male audience members to sing ‘Lady Marmalade’ with her and they showed up and showed out, much to the crowd’s enjoyment.

And the grand finale belongs to Miss Mary J Blige! Mary J iced the cake and DELIVERED IT!!! High energy, hit after it, “I’m Going Down”, “No More Drama”. The crowd sounded like they were at karaoke- they were ‘sanging’ right along with her!!! Mary kept it real with all the emotion behind each classic hit, jumping up and down in those 5 inch, knee-high boots. She made us feel the music and love every minute of it! We want more!

But not for another year? Oh the anticipation. Let’s hope 2013 will be just as fabulous. We cant wait!

About the author

Karlene T