Headliners Announced for Miami’s Jazz in the Gardens

Joe Sample
David Sanborn

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Several well-known Jazz musicians will come together with top R&B and pop artists for the Fifth Annual “Jazz in the Gardens” festival held in Land Shark Stadium early next year. The festival spans the weekend of March 20-21 and is presented by the City of Miami Gardens.

Jazz heavyweights David Sanborn, Joe Sample and Cassandra Wilson are joined by Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Robin Thicke, Teena Marie and Boyz II Men for the two-day event. Radio personality Tom Joyner will host. Joining the list of headliners are Melanie Fiona and K’Jon, along with local artists whose names will be released soon.

Growing in popularity each year, event organizers expect a whopping 60,000 people to fill the Miami Dolphins’ and Florida Marlins’ home stadium. Various sections of seating are set up throughout the stadium, with a selection of Jamaican, Haitian, Latin, Chinese and Bahamian food and drink available. In addition, there will be a marketplace with CD’s, t-shirts and souvenir items available for purchase, and an interactive station with games, photos, and other activities.

“I am honored to be asked to participate,” said Joe Sample, adding that he is looking forward to returning to Miami after not performing in the city for many years. “With all the influences of the Caribbean and South America, I think that gives it a very unique flavor.”

Sample will be playing acoustic piano as part of a trio, joined by his son Nick on bass and drummer Johnny Vidacovich. Sample said he does not change his performance or preparation methods for an expected crowd of this size. “A trio can be just as dynamic in a large setting as it can in an intimate setting,” he said.

Sample has a long history of making records and performing with David Sanborn, but has not played with or alongside some of the other headliners like Blige and Legend.

Although looking forward to the event, Sample-who characterizes himself as an American artist incorporating all types of jazz, blues and soul into his music-said the title could be a bit of a misnomer. “There’s a trend today to call everything jazz,” he said. “I have my own definition of jazz and it isn’t something that I can define with words, it is something that when I hear it and feel it, then that is when I know if it jazz or not.”

Tickets prices vary, starting at $45 for a general admission single-day pass, to $145 for a two-day all inclusive prime reserve pass. Discounts are given for advance ticket sales and groups. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster and the Land Shark Stadium Box Office.

For more information on the performing artists, directions and additional information about the festival, visit Jazz in the Gardens.