South Beach Gets It’s Own Jazz Fest (with performances produced by KCC Productions!)
South Beach Gets Its Own Jazz Fest
First Annual Fest Creates Awareness For People With Disabilities
By Michelle F. Solomon, ATCA, FFCC | Monday, December 5, 2016
David New believes, and rightly so, that the South Beach Jazz Festival can become an event that rivals Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey Pop, New Orleans, or any of the great jazz festivals.
He’s about to prove it when the First Annual South Beach Jazz Festival (www.sobejazz.com) takes over various venues on Miami Beach beginning Dec. 7 through Dec. 11 with 16 artists performing over the four days. Many of the events free and open to the public. Performances will take place at the Colony Theatre, on stages set up throughout Lincoln Road, at Hotel Astor and Rare.
The headliner for the festival is the incomparable Diane Schuur, regarded as one of Contemporary Jazz’s leading vocalists. Born blind from birth, she was gifted with perfect pitch and initially taught herself to play piano by ear. She has performed with some of the greats and is frequently a guest at the White House to perform. She was one of the select musical guests invited to perform for Steve Wonder at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Presented by New’s non-profit group Power Access, whose mission it is to create awareness about the disabled community through experiential events, New’s idea is to showcase the artistry of people with disabilities. “Each musical performance will showcase the artistry of at least one person with a disability. The sheer talent of the artists will promote the festival’s dual goal, to entertain, and to define others by ability rather than disability.
Now age 46, New lost his sight 15 years ago and was rendered paralyzed from the waist down for two years. Since that time, he has been a steadfast advocate for people with disabilities, especially with his ongoing efforts with the City of Miami Beach. Through his Miami Beach-based companies, Ability Explosion, Access Now and Power Access, David has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of people with disabilities, including the “Dining in the Dark” and Biz-Ability events.
miamiartzine.com: How did you decide to take on a jazz festival? That seems like a huge undertaking.
David New: Power Access has done other events in the past six years Lights Out Miami Beach, a dining in the dark experience. We had almost 1,000 people participate citywide. The next one will be Dec. 10 at NEXXT Café on Lincoln Road. We’ve done wheelchair basketball events, 5K runs, the Visibility Luncheon with the Chamber of Commerce, music symposiums and children’s programs. This year, I wanted to do something more inclusive. I love creating events because it involves bringing people together, and, I this case, bringing music and sound and visual aspects of a venue.
maz: Tell me about the idea of having at least one person with a disability performing in each group.
DN: The truth of the matter is that most people have some kind of a challenge depending on their age or their circumstance. I picked Dianne Schuur first to be our headliner and my production company had told me about all these other Grammy Award winners. They asked me is it that important (about the disability)? And I said :Yes, it is.” Most people with disabilities aren’t recognizable from the outside, but they may have all kinds of things – they could be diabetic, or have some kind of a birth defect, or even alcoholism, or attention deficit disorder, all of these things that are classified under ther Americans With Disabilities Act. All you need to know is that it exists. It’s a personal thing, some people prefer not to speak about it. The thing we all have in common is our humanity.
maz: So this is the first jazz festival. Will there be others?
DN: The plan is to start with a bang and I want to grow it so that each year it becomes bigger and bigger and is well known around the world and the country — like Newport Jazz, Monterey, New Orleans, I think it can achieve that status. South Beach is a great venue for that kind of thing. Inclusive of businesses and hotels on the beach. There are hundreds of venues where this can expand.
maz: Any idea about other headliners in the future?
DN: My ultimate dream person would be Stevie Wonder to be performing on the stage on the Beach for 100,000 people. I already have my feelers out to get him involved. It requires big dollars and a lot of support.
maz: What kind of support have you seen for the first annual South Beach Jazz Festival?
DN: We have a lot of sponsors, which is great, but it still takes money so we have other ways we’re raising funds. (Sponsors for the event include 1111 Lincoln Road, 8025 Promo, Ability Explosion, Access Now, Atlantic Broadband, City of Miami Beach, Curro Industries, Elite Tent, FIU School of Communication, Architecture & The Arts, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jameck Development, Kagen Water, Kersten Communications, Leon Cosgrove, Lincoln Road Business Improvement District, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Miami Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Miami Dolphins miamiartzine.com, Nexxt, Outfront Media, Power Access, Pridelines, Rare Bistro, Regal Entertainment Group, Segafredo, South Beach Animal Hospital, South Beach Boxing, South Beach Group Boutique Hotels, Spris, The Beach Channel, W South Beach, WDNA, Whole Foods and WLRN.) The event is costly and takes a lot of coordination and so we started a go fund me campaign. We’re selling Lola’s Jazzy Bones. She’s my guide dog and we created homemade dogs bones and they are in local pet stores and online.
maz: How did you come up with the idea of making dog bones?
DN: My sister had done something similar because her daughter raised money for her guide dog school in Israel and I said give me your recipe. I bought molds and I started making the bones ata home and I wrapped them up with a purple ribbon and we presented them to the stores and you can buy them on our website, too.
maz: You have other fundraising activities for the event, too.’
DN: We have an online auction which is live now . . . Everything from original prints by Romero Britto to plastic surgery packages to massages, so that’s going on through the festival and we’re doing a raffle which is the grand prize. I am trying to utilize every single way to raise funds for this and I figure something will stick.
ABOUT THE FEST
The South Beach Jazz Festival presents 16 jazz artists over the course of four days, with performances produced by KCC Productions. The Colony Theatre and Rare will host ticketed concerts, with free performances on stages at Euclid Circle and 1111 Lincoln Road. Information and tickets are available at www.sobejazz.com.
Wednesday, Dec. 7
Opening VIP Cocktail Party (By Invitation Only), featuring The Lenard Rutledge Ensemble
Thursday, Dec. 8
8 p.m.: The French Caravan, Hotel Astor, 956 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
Friday, Dec. 9
8 p.m.: Raul Midón Trio, Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Saturday, Dec. 10 – Euclid Circle, Main Stage
1 p.m.: Dr. Ed Calle Jazz Ensemble
2:45 p.m.: Ricky Williams Quartet
4 p.m.: Oriente
5 p.m.: Mike Gerber Trio
6 p.m.: Luis Mario Ochoa Ensemble
8:15 p.m.: Karina Iglesias & The Nu Thang
9:45 p.m.: Felipe Lamogila, featuring Afro-Cuban Beats
Saturday, Dec. 10 – 1111 Lincoln Road Stage
1 p.m.: The French Horn Collective
2:45 p.m.: Rolando Grooscors Ensemble
4:30 p.m.: Wendy Pedersen Quartet
Sunday, Dec. 11
11:30 a.m. Jazz Brunch, with Reuben Hoch Chassidic Jazz Project, Rare, 4101 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach
4 p.m.: Diane Schuur & Dr. Ed Calle’s Grammy Award Winner Mamblue Big Band
Raffle tickets to win a $500 gift certificate from Lululemon are available for purchase on the website (www.sobejazz.com) for $5 each, or three for $10. The drawing will be held on Dec, 12, and all proceeds benefit Power Access, Inc. and the South Beach Jazz Festival. In addition, a GoFundMe page has been set up where people can make donations – www.gofundme.com/sobejazz.
For further information on tickets, sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, go to www.SoBeJazz.com or call (786) 607-JAZZ.