Jazz legends David Sanborn, Cassandra Wilson and Joe Sample are set to take the stage during the 5th Annual "Jazz in the Gardens" hosted by #1 rated, nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, Saturday, March 20th and Sunday, March 21st at Sun Life Stadium (formerly Dolphin Stadium), 2269 Dan Marino Blvd, Miami Gardens, Florida 33056. Internationally-known and well-respected, these jazz musicians are at the top of the genre, oftentimes pulling in audiences of over 6,000 on their own bill. Sanborn, Wilson and Sample are just three of the artists on the star-studded line-up for the nearly sold-out festival. Other confirmed artists include the queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige; R&B crooner, Robin Thicke; Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, John Legend; 90s R&B/pop super group, Boyz II Men; funk/R&B diva, Teena Marie; Grammy nominated R&B vocalist, Melanie Fiona; and R&B newcomer, K'Jon.
Jazz in the Gardens, a two-day weekend festival now in its fifth year, has grown to be one of the top cultural events in South Florida. The jazz festival delivers a diverse mix of music genres that range from jazz, R&B, Caribbean and African sounds. Having something to offer all music aficionados at an affordable price, the 4th Annual Jazz in the Gardens shattered expected ticket sales, enjoying an attendance of almost 40,000, which was more than double the sales of the 2008 festival. In 2009, the Jazz in the Gardens crowd enjoyed the 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.
The iconic David Sanborn truly merits his position as a saxophonist, unrivaled as a player who straddles the pop and jazz worlds while commanding respect in both. In pop, he is justly famed for his standout solo on David Bowie's 1975 hit "Young Americans" -- one of many celebrated recording projects that evolved out of Sanborn's live supporting roles. Indeed, his matchless tone has additionally been sought to bolster performances by the esteemed liked of Eric Clapton, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder -- many of whom have likewise gone on to enlist Sanborn's inimitable sax presence in the studio. Sanborn's high visibility live and on record is only part of his story. His music has been heard in films, most notably on the Michael Kamen penned scores for the "Lethal Weapon" movies. His television work includes the theme for "Saturday Night Live," sitting in regularly with the Late Night with David Letterman band, and hosting the dearly-remembered "Night Music." The six-time Grammy winner has consistently recorded his own albums, and since his first album Taking Off from 1975, through his acclaimed Closer from 2005, he has rarely gone over two years between releases. Sanborn's new album, Here and Gone, is the 23rd solo album of Sanborn's extraordinary career and features guests such as Eric Clapton, Sam Moore and Joss Stone.
One of the many jazzmen who started out playing hard bop but went electric during the fusion era, Joe Sample was, in the late '50s, a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist, Wayne Henderson; tenor saxophonist, Wilton Felder; and drummer, Stix Hooper. Sample, a hard-swinging player who could handle chordal and modal/scalar improvisation equally well, stuck to the acoustic piano during the Crusaders' early years -- but would place greater emphasis on electric keyboards when the band turned to jazz-funk in the early '70s. Although Sample had recorded as a trio pianist on 1969's obscure Fancy Dance, 1978's Rainbow Seeker was often described as his first album as a leader. Since the early 1980's, he has enjoyed a successful solo career and has guested on many recordings by other performers and groups, including Miles Davis, George Benson, Jimmy Witherspoon, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan and The Supremes.
Defying categorization and convention, Cassandra Wilson never fails to surprise and inspire. Sexy, honey-velvet vocals wrapped around her own jazzy blue compositions or inventive interpretations of others' material led TIME magazine to name her "America's Best Singer" in recent years. Wilson's journey can be traced back to Mississippi where she was raised by musician and educator parents. In the eighties, Wilson moved to New Orleans and performed with Earl Turbinton and Ellis Marsalis. Quite by accident, she was relocated to East Orange, New Jersey where she made the decision to take her chances on the New York jazz scene. Her development can be tracked through her discography. From the standards on Blue Skies to the Grammy-winning New Moon Daughter, to the combination of originals and interpretations played by a collection of Mississippi and New York musicians on both the 2001 release, Belly of the Sun, and 2003's Glamoured, to the 2006 T-Bone Burnett produced Thunderbird, Cassandra continues to evolve. On her acclaimed 2009 release, Loverly, Wilson returns to a more stripped down jazz setting, and gives a tantalizing, rhythmically driven collection of jazz standards new luster.