Review: Miami 10th Annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival

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Photos: Addy Chin

The city of Miami Gardens continues to deliver a top quality product year after year.  Jazz in the Gardens (JIG) 10th annual music festival was studded with Grammy award winning artists. The line-up included Toni Braxton, Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, Maxwell, Freddie Jackson, RunDMC, Sheila E and Brian Culbertson.

Blue skies, 90F/32C and slight breeze graced the city for both days of the festival. This coupled with 67,000+ in ticket sales made for a spectacular weekend of music, food and excitement. While roaming the crowd, I enjoyed chatting with several festival patrons.  Kathian B. from Brooklyn, NY was looking forward to Maxwell’s performance. She was also thrilled about missing the first day of spring snowstorm that just hit her hometown.

Wayne L. and his fiancée drove up from Kendall, FL.  This was their 5th year in a row at JIG, Wayne was looking forward to R. Kelly; his lady was all about the old school sounds of RunDMC and Jeffrey Osborne.  Wayne said, “every year at the festival is better than the last”. I must say,  I agree with him wholeheartedly.

My favorite performer of the weekend was Ms. Erykah Badu.  I saw her many years ago when she was a rising star and didn’t know what to expect now that she had ‘made-it’.  She was phenomenal.  Pure and classic singing and boy did she hit and hold those high notes.  This peppered with her jokes and frankness about her life, made for an exceptional performance.

While the talent, atmosphere and overall grooving of the festival improves each year, time management continues to be an issue.  According to the schedule, R Kelly’s performance was set for 10:30pm.  He actually took to the stage shortly after midnight. Fortunately JIG is sponsored by the city and held at the late-night friendly venue of Sun Life Stadium.  When the show runs late, the crowd still gets to enjoy the full set of the artists they paid to see.
Jazz in the Gardens, the first ten years have been impressive. Miami Gardens has established a strong brand and this show continues to attract top artists.  Kudos to the city for repeatedly delivering an excellent show.  Here’s to ten more years and ten more after that.

See more photos from Jazz in the Gardens in our photo gallery  : Day 1 PhotosDay 2 Photos