The Jazz in the Gardens lineup boasts celebrated performers with ties to Guyana, Bahamas, Trinidad and Puerto Rico. Giving momentum to the festival are Mary J Blige, Melanie Fiona, Boyz II Men, Bryan-Michael Cox and Johnny Nunez and all celebrated top honors this year.
Melanie Fiona secured her first Grammy nod with a nomination for Best Female R&B Performance. Fiona, of Guyanese descent, is enjoying her newly found presence on the Billboard R&B Chart — where “It Kills Me” is enjoying its fourth week at the top spot. While expressing her enthusiasm about the nomination on You Tube, Fiona was emotionally moved. Although Fiona is billed as an R&B artist, she is no stranger to Reggae music. The burgeoning songstress actually made her debut on VP Records Reggae Gold 2008 on the Supadups produced track “Somebody Come Get Me.”
Mary J Blige, scheduled to perform March 20th, received decade end honors from Billboard Magazine alongside Jazz in the Garden’s DJ, Grammy Award winning songwriter/producer Bryan Michael Cox. “Be Without You,” a ballad co-written by Cox and Blige and produced by Cox, was named the number one R&B “Song of the Decade” by Billboard. In conjunction, B. Cox born in Miami Gardens to a family from the Bahamas, was recently inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame along with being named Billboard’s number eight producer of the decade.
Last week, Boyz II Men announced their plans to celebrate the group’s 20thanniversary, which will include returning to the studio to work on a new album. “We have always wanted to play the ‘Jazz in the Gardens’ event, as we love coming to Miami Gardens,” says a member of the trio. ” Add in music, great performers and a few drinks…we can’t wait!”
In addition to the performing artists, famed celebrity photographer Johnny Nunez, who has been tapped to document Jazz in the Gardens for the past 3 years, is also enjoying monumental achievements. Nunez, a New York native of Trinidadian and Puerto Rican heritage, recently took home The Best Documentary award at the San Diego Black Film Festival for the film Shooting Stars — a documentary profiling the photographer’s life and career. Nunez also partnered with New Era Caps in 2009 to release a line of baseball caps called Hip Hop Royalty.
Jazz in the Gardens, a two-day weekend festival which is now in its fifth year, has grown to be one of the top cultural events in America . The jazz festival delivers a diverse mix of music genre that range from jazz and R&B to Caribbean and African sounds. Offering a diverse line-up to music aficionados of all sorts at an affordable price, the 4th Annual Jazz in the Gardens shattered expected ticket sales, enjoying an attendance of almost 40,000 — more than double the sales of the 2008 festival. In 2009, the Jazz in the Gardens crowd enjoyed the eclectic hip-hop flavor of Common, the beautiful neo-soul melodies of Erykah Badu, the smooth R&B of Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds and the crowd-stopping soul of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, among other a-list artists.