Things to do in Miami: South Beach Jazz Festival January 7-9, 2022

As for the South Beach Jazz Festival, the shows will continue.

This annual event, which brings together the best jazz artists in Miami Beach venues, took place as planned in January 2021 – and the same is scheduled for January 2022. With the exception of a pre-festival show, all performances should take place outside.

“We take every precaution possible to make our event safe and enjoyable for the whole community,” said festival founder R. David New. “[For the 2021 edition], we had comprehensive COVID protocols in place and the events were very successful. ”

The festival, scheduled for January 7-9 in 2022, was designed to help showcase the extraordinary musical abilities of people with disabilities. New is a disability advocate and president of the nonprofit Power Access, which hosts the festival. He became blind, deaf and partially paralyzed from a rare condition, but was able to regain his hearing and the ability to walk (but not his sight).

“It’s in our mission to provide opportunities for musicians with disabilities, and therefore at least one musician in each band has a disability,” he says.

A special pre-festival show is scheduled for Thursday, January 6 at the Faena Theater, with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and singer Aymee Nuviola. Their 2020 album, Viento y Tiempo (Wind and weather), was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category “Best Latin Jazz Album”. Recorded live at the Blue Note club in Tokyo, it is a tribute to their mothers and their native Havana.

The headliners for the opening night on Friday, January 7 are the Grammy-winning Blind Boys of Alabama. The gospel singing group has its roots in the late 1930s, when the original members sang together as children at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind. Over the decades, they have worked with stars such as Mavis Staples, Aaron Neville, and Willie Nelson.

“It is in our mission to provide opportunities for musicians with disabilities.”

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Their performance is part of “SoBe in NoBe: The Opening Night of the 6th Annual South Beach Jazz Festival”, presented at the North Beach Bandshell in partnership with the Rhythm Foundation.

New Orleans-born saxophonist Donald Harrison will also perform that evening. Formerly a member of the famous Jazz Messengers of the late drummer Art Blakey, Harrison is part of the 2022 class of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters.

He is also part of the Cookers supergroup, whose latest album, Warning! rose to # 31 on the JazzWeek charts last fall. Harrison is expected to perform as part of his quartet, which also includes Joe Dyson (drums), Nori Naraoka (bass) and Dan Kaufman (piano).

While Thursday and Friday shows require paid entry, the rest of the weekend shows are free.

Student musicians will reign supreme on Saturday, January 8, when they are featured on the Jazz for Tomorrow Stage on Lincoln Road. The Jazz Education Community Coalition (JECC) Ensemble, the University of Miami Jazz Quintet with singer Kaleen Barton and the Florida Memorial University Jazz Ensemble will be in attendance. A set of the Lighthouse for the Blind will also be performing.

A local favorite is the co-ordinator of the student scene: violinist, singer and educator Nicole Yarling. She is also looking forward to performing with her quintet on Sunday January 9 on the Power Access Main Stage, which is also on Lincoln Road.

“It’s going to be a cross between the original music and some covers, but you know I always rework covers,” Yarling says. “I work with people that I love to play with, and the attachment to this festival is really nice.”

Other stars for Sunday include the Russ Spiegel Organ Group, featuring acclaimed artist and local teacher Jim Gasior on the organ; Negroni’s Trio – father Jose Negroni on piano, son Nomar Negroni on drums and bassist Josh Allen – who released the album, Esperanzas / Hopes, in 2021; the French Horn Collective, specializing in French gypsy jazz and hot swing; and Brazilian-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Munir Hossn with his band, Elas.

Returning this year, the festival will allow guests to enjoy music outdoors in South Florida, the perfect location in January.

“It’s a great way to spend your weekend if you want to listen to good music and just enjoy the weather,” says Yarling. “Even though it’s a little cold, it’s so much hotter than the rest of the country.”

– Tracy Fields, ArtburstMiami.com

South Beach Jazz Festival. from Friday January 7 to Sunday January 9; in various places; sobejazzfestival.com. Ticket prices vary.



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Willie J. Johnson