BEST LOCAL JAZZ ARTIST Miami 2002 - Spam Allstars
Readers' Choice: Nathaniel Reed and Nestor Torres (tie)
For the purist, Miami has a wealth of fine jazz musicians who know their way around an Ellington composition or conserve the stylistic touches of Dizzy, Miles, or Coltrane. Jesse Jones, Jr., Melton Mustafa, Randy Gerber, and Paquito Hechavarria are just a few of the virtuosos who keep the flame of jazz alive in the city. Enter the young Turks in the Spam Allstars, a lanky crew of polyester hipsters who brandish trombones, saxophone, and timbales (the lineup changes often). Their regular Fuácata jams at Hoy Como Ayer are held together by the vinyl rhythms of Andrew Yeomanson (DJ Le Spam). Doubtless they are a party band, but their nonstop sets of extended improvisations mix African, Latin, and electronica influences into a concoction that defies all categories. And the Spams never fail to uplift and elevate their minions. While you'll likely never hear "A Night in Tunisia" at a Spam show, you will get a zinging set of polyrhythmic improvisations that are at the heart of jazz.