This year’s 13th annual Jazz in the Gardens concert will feature some of R&B’s biggest Grammy-winning stars: Chaka Khan, Fantasia, Smokey Robinson and Anita Baker, as part of her much-publicized farewell retirement tour.
“Such a pleasure to accept your invitation to headline the Festival this year, i am Humbled. A beautiful way to Celebrate, my farewell concert series abxo,” Baker tweeted Jan. 16 after Jazz in the Gardens announced her appearance.
Not all the performers at the two-day concert Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18, are internationally famous music legends. This year, the festival also will shine some of its spotlight on a local performer being featured as a star attraction.
“This is an awesome feeling, man,” said Anthony Randolph, known artistically as A. Randolph. “It is amazing that people think so much of what we do and would invite us to be on such a big platform. This time, I’m even more prepared and making sure that we smash.”
The Miami Gardens native will be performing with S.M.A.S.H Room Project, a jazz collective that will be the festival’s house band this year.
Last year, Randolph performed at several music festivals across South Florida. He’s also entertained at a previous Jazz in the Gardens pre-concert party.
Despite his performing experience, Randolph also admits he has a good, nervous energy about hitting the festival’s main stage on Saturday, March 17.
“I think everybody in every profession, when you are about to do something so major and so big, you are going to have some jitters … but I think for me it is just anticipating getting to the stage,” he said.
“Just let me get the mic and once I get the mic I am fine, the nerves go away. But it is just before that, it is like hurry up, I am ready to get this mic and then once I get this mic, that first song, I am good. Seeing the people react … that kind of gives me my energy.”
Randolph says, “I love to see the reactions of the people.”
“To see where they are going and sometimes I will rearrange my show based on what they are giving me,” he said.
Randolph’s sound is unique and heavily influenced by his childhood growing up in South Florida. He often fuses his sets with original material and covers of popular songs from singers like Prince and James Brown.
One local fan said that she is eager to see what Randolph comes up with this year.
“I saw him at Funk Fest last year and I thought that he was really good,” said Jasmyne Wright of Pembroke Pines. “I like the type of music he does because I can dance and have a good time. When I found out he was from Miami I was like, ‘Ah, that is why I like his voice so much.’”
If you go
▪ What: Jazz in the Gardens
▪ Where: Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens
▪ When: Opening night party, 8 p.m. Friday, March 16; 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17; and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 18
▪ Tickets: Opening night party, $35; two-day package, $96 to $155; single day, $69 to $86. http://hrld.us/2CSvz6o
▪ Information: www.jazzinthegardens.com