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10th Annual Jazz In the Gardens Music Festival

10th Annual Jazz In the Gardens Music FestivalMarch 21 & 22, 3pm-11:30pm – Sun Life Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens

The City of Miami Gardens presented its 10th Annual Jazz in the Gardens music festival on March 21 & 22 at Sun Life Stadium. There was a massive turnout for the 10th Annual Jazz in the Garden. Hosted by D.L. Hughley and Rickey Smiley, the musical festival featured two days of entertainment by: Maxwell, R. Kelly, Erykah Badu, Toni Braxton, RUN DMC, Men of Soul, Sheila E., Brian Culbertson, and local artists.

This an organized, well-attended explosion of entertainment. Arriving Saturday everything from the parking to the entrance was refreshingly organized and we were just in time to see Sheila E. She interacted with the audience as a singer, drummer, percussionist and guitarist. Best known for her 80′s hit “The Glamorous Life” and her association with Prince, Sheila E. reveals true talent and on stage. From Latin grooves to funky drumbeats and bass lines, she brought the crowd to life with raw skill and polished moves. Talented.

Saving ourselves for Sunday, we left before seeing the remaining acts. Entertainers continued to allure a thrilled crowd with performances by the talented Toni Braxton and headliner R. Kelly.

Arriving Sunday afternoon, crowds were already gathered and ready for a day of music. The fourth act on the bill was old school rap pioneer group RUN-DMC. The original 1980’s rap supergroup featuring Reverend Joseph ‘Run’ Simmons and Daryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels stormed the sweltering stage just as night fell. Their 45-minute set list was packed full of early hip-hop party anthems like,”You Be Illin”, “King Of Rock” and “It’s Tricky”. Classic.

Erykah Badu, the 44-year-old neo-soul singer/songstress entered the stage wearing her trademark headgear. In this case it was a oversized black Canadian mountie’s hat that looked like it was on loan from Pharell. Though her set started out slowly, Badu gathered musical momentum throughout her show with sing-along classics like,”Cleva”, “Bag Lady” and the crowd favorite,”Tyrone”. Miss Erykah Abi Wright had the predominantly female crowd singing along to every single lyric and eating out of the palm of her hand by the end of her time up onstage. Magic.

Which leads us to the Saturday headliner at the 10th Anniversary of Miami Jazz in the Gardens: Maxwell. After two songs, there was no question that the promoters knew exactly what they were doing in choosing him as the final act. He and his relatively small band flowed seamlessly through his smooth R & B catalog. A top-notch singing stage performer who worked the 35,000 person crowd like a professional without ever seeming like he was pandering or cheesy. Maxwell’s voice was in perfect shape. Able to soar from falsetto to scream (often times in the same song) his control and timbre are unmatched in modern music. Stellar.

With thousands of people in attendance, the crowd was mesmerized by spectacular performances and remained behaved, cool and even polite. A good day to be in the gardens. #JITG10 @JITG10 @jazzgardens

Photos by: Melissa Donaldson

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