I don’t agree that Jazz in the Gardens is so great. I have never attended but this event draws 35,000 deluded people. This year, there will be only two jazz artists, Al Jarreau and Branford Marsalis and NO female jazz artists at all. This is an outrage.
The people on this festival are R&B and that is NOT Jazz. They never have jazz. It’s an insult to me and all the real jazz musicians I work with and promote in my organization. That would be like having a reggae festival that features country & western.
It’s abhorrent but the City uses the word “jazz” for insurance purposes. And they should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting the cultural production of African Americans who think above their navel.
Bobby Brown, Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight, Charlie Wilson, En Vogue, El Debarge, Doug E Fresh, Slick Rick, none of these are Jazz Artists, meaning that people like me who perform jazz are continually OUT OF WORK. We are never engaged by these cities to bring real jazz to the community. I worked day in and day out to promote jazz music in South Florida and get very little recognition by any of these so-called jazz promoters. They are liars and thieves of the “only true art form in America”. Ella, Billie, Carmen, Betty are turning over in their graves from this fraudulent false advertisement. If I had the resources, I would sue the City of Miami Gardens for this terrible and continuous offense that is killing the art of jazz and all the hard work that so many African Americans artists did in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
It is a huge insult to the hundreds of African Americans in South Florida who know what jazz really is. However, I’ve moved away from being the complainer because people in South Florida have no respect for the culture of African Americans anyway, unless it’s gospel.
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You are right about the misleading title of JAZZ IN THE GARDENS. This festival is the only one of its caliber to attract the roster of talent they attract at this time of the year, but to call it a Jazz anything is off target.
The 35,000 people that attend don’t care about the title of the festival. They just want good entertainment. Is that wrong? Perhaps so, but the fact remains that this event will continue to build its brand as long as it remains the premier musical event of the spring in South Florida. This is an R&B town, not one that has the level of appreciation for good jazz music. How do we fix that?
We appreciate your response and apologize for taking so long to respond. It’s a very good question: How do we fix that?
The next question is – Who holds the purse strings? He or she that has the gold rules! And the only recourse I see is to convince the powers-that-be to upgrade the festival to fit its name, since I’m been convinced by others that the City will not change the name of the festival because of branding.
I don’t think it’s a matter of Miami Gardens being an R&B town. This phenomenon of naming festivals “Jazz” is economic (for insurance purposes) and political (for intelligence purposes). The promoters know that if you call a festival “Pop”, “R&B”, “Rock & Roll” or “Hip Hop” they will need to pay far more for insurance and will not draw the mature attendees that have more spending power. So, they lump all the musical genres into one bill and call it “Jazz”. The damage this does to performers of “Real Jazz” is devastating because the younger generation has no way of differentiating between commercial music they hear on the music and classical jazz that is not as commercial and far more intellectual. The dumbing down of Americans, particularly African American from whom Jazz originated is devastating enough without disenfranchising the musicians who hone their craft in the jazz genre and killing their chances of being presented in an honest venue. I recall, this year, that Branford Marsalis’ concert was at the beginning of the day and was poorly attended, while Muzik Soulchild had a full house and sang the same line over and over again, with very little other content in his performance. I was disappointed and I believe many who attend this event are disillusioned by the term “Jazz Festival”.
What is the solution?
Without access to the booking committee, the people who hold the purse strings, it is futile to even formulate a solution. And, should you have the opportunity to sit at the table with the committee, you’re up against the branding issue.
If this situation was only true of Miami Gardens, it may be solveable, however the use of the term “Jazz” has be so misused around the country and internationally, especially in the Caribbean that it’s just about a lost cause. Even the New Orleans Jazz Festival is no longer Jazz, which is even more of an outrage.
What to do? Who really knows?