Monday, March 21, 2011

Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival

Lauryn Hill performs at Jazz in the Gardens, Miami, Fla.
My friend Felicia and I took the drive from Palm Beach County to Miami Dade Saturday, March 19 to see the first day of the two-day musical festival Jazz in the Gardens at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, the home of the Miami Dolphins.  The show began at 4 p.m., and main acts that day included Lalah Hathaway, Al Jarreau, Heads of State (featuring Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, and Bobby Brown), Charlie Wilson and Lauryn Hill.

It was a beautiful day, temps reaching the low 80's. Everyone was friendly, and in a good mood. Who wouldn't be?  There was good music, food, and sunshine. The event was conducted on the grounds outside of the stadium. As you entered the grounds there were tents with vendors selling a variety of items from T-shirts, art, accessories to natural soap.

Attendees visit the food vendors

The food vendors saw the most business. A lot of the food you'd expect at outdoor festivals. Not the healthiest, but I did spot one stand with salad and fruit. I have to admit, I couldn't pass up the conch fritters. Especially when a polite teen, whose family ran the stand, explained to me why the food served there is so delicious I should try it.

Lalah Hathaway's soulful voice was beautiful. So glad she sang my favorite, "Forever, For Always, For Love." Hearing Al Jarreau brought back so many memories of childhood. My parents listened to him a lot. And, as a youngster I was enamored with his video for "Mornin' " because of the animation. (See here He singing it that afternoon made me think of home.

As a staunch New Edition fan, I was thrilled to hear Heads of State perform. Especially when they sang New Edition classics like, "Mr. Telephone Man." I had flashbacks to grammar school when my friends and I picked a NE member to swoon over. Mine was Ralph Tresvant. And to my delight, he sang his solo hit, "Sensitivity." 

                                           Brown, Tresvant and Gill  rock the audience

                                           Bobby Brown performs with Heads of State

Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown also belted out their solo classics. Bobby B's, "Don't Be Cruel" and "Tenderoni" had all of the ladies on their feet. And, it wouldn't have been right if Johnny Gill didn't serenade females in the audience with "My, My, My." Tresvant, Brown and Gill sounded really, really good, and put on a fantastic show. You've still got it fellas!

                                          Johnny Gill serenades females in the audience

Bobby Brown brings his youngest son on stage

In between acts there was party music playing. A few of the songs got the crowd going so much, many began impromptu Cha-Cha Slides and even the Electric Slide in the aisles. That was almost as fun to watch as the performers. 

Charlie Wilson didn't disappoint either. He had the crowd on its feet for the whole performance. He took us from the old to the new with songs from his Gap Band days, "Outstanding" to his current solo hits, "There Goes My Baby." And yes, he had on one of his Charlie Wilson hats, of which he let the crowd know his signature hats were now available to fans. So, like Country Western concerts where the attendees wear cowboy hats, next time you see Wilson live, you can sport his style.

                                                             Charlie Wilson 

The final act of the day, well the concert kind of went into the next day, was Lauryn Hill. Now, I'm a big Lauryn Hill fan. Prior to Jazz in the Gardens, I've seen her perform twice, once when I was studying abroad as a student in Madrid, Spain she performed with The Fugees, and again at Madison Square Garden when she was on tour for "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill." We are the same age. She's from New Jersey, I'm from New York. I understand her lyrics, I get her message.

Lauryn Hill gives a passionate performance

Okay, Hill's performance was late due to technical difficulties. But, I didn't care. When you think about it, there are things not worth wasting an hour on, which most of us do every day. Like reality TV. To hear Hill live, I would sacrifice the extra hour of sleep. I was so glad I did! She was great!!! That was the Lauryn Hill I remembered. She and her band rocked Fugees hits like, "Fu-Gee-la," and the always moving version of "Killing Me Softly." Hill also performed some of her solo hits including, "Everything is Everything" and "That Thing." Everyone I was around sang along with her for every song. I'm thrilled Lauryn Hill is back in the building.

All in all I really enjoyed Jazz in the Gardens.

1 comment:

  1. I was a huge Ralph Tresvant fan back in the day also. Glad to hear the fellas have still got it!!