It's been about 100 years since that quintessentially American art form known as jazz music was invented by a mostly nameless gang of raw and adventurous trumpeters, trombone blowers, clarinetists, tuba men, guitar guys, bassists, piano players, and drummers in New Orleans.
In the 1910s, though, our Magic City (less than 900 miles from the Crescent City) was still basically a subtropical frontier town built on a swamp. And so we didn't exactly contribute much to the genesis of jazz.
Nevertheless, as the 20th Century slipped through the '30s, '40s, and '50s, Miami became an essential stopover on the Southern tour circuit for legends like Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole.
And now the Miami Jazz Fest is looking to build on that legacy.
A two-day concert scheduled for November 17 and 18 at Bayfront Park's Klipsch Amphitheater, the inaugural edition of this festival has big ambitions. Namely, as stated on MiamiJazzFest.com: "To become the premier jazz event in the country!"
Or as event founder and producer Carmen J. Cartiglia explains less excitedly in the official festival announcement: "There are many music festivals that call themselves jazz events, but are all too often watered down with other types of music. The Miami Jazz Fest will be going back to the basics and will bring in some exceptional true jazz artists from around the world."
Miami Jazz Fest 2012 Lineup
Saturday, November 17
-Trio De Paz
Sunday, November 18
Of course, though, the Miami Jazz Fest isn't only mining "the basics" or the Magic City's past as a music town of the '30s, '40s, and '50s.
In fact, considering headliners like Jamaica's Monty Alexander and Brazil's Trio De Paz, the festival seems to be mostly focused on those "jazz artists from around the world" as well as South Florida being a longtime meeting place for sounds from the Caribbean, South and Central America, not to mention contemporary New Orleans, New York City, and Europe.
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"We're ... bringing the people of Miami a true jazz event that they can be proud of," Cartiglia enthuses. "This is the start of an annual jazz festival that will grow with each year and establish Miami as the home for 'True Jazz' and the revival Jazz is enjoying."
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Miami Jazz Fest 2012. Saturday, November 17, and Sunday, November 18. Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The show starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Single-day tickets cost $45 to $90 plus fees and two-day passes cost $110 and up plus fees via livenation.com. Call 305-405-JAZZ or visit miamijazzfest.com.