December 21, 2013

Miami's Own International Star!

Nicole Henry
Publishers Note: Several years ago I met a young woman who told me she was a singer looking to start a career in music. Determined and full of youthful ambition, she told me in detail the things she wanted to accomplish within the music industry. On top of everything else, I recall that this young vocalist had a warm and engaging personality, one that ensured I would not forget her name. Throughout the years I followed the young woman’s rise to the top of the industry. Today, she performs all around the world. Yes, that young woman is now the great jazz vocalist Nicole Henry. Please enjoy her story.

Edward Reid

Since her debut in 2004, jazz/soul vocalist Nicole Henry has captivated audiences worldwide with her exquisite voice and beguiling live performances that have earned her three top 10 albums, international media accolades and sold-out shows from Miami to Moscow to Madrid.  

Henry demonstrates her diversity and skills as a performer and refined interpreter on her 2013 release, So  Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live. The 13-track live album, which was recorded at Henry’s sold-out performances at Feinstein’s in NYC in May 2012, showcases her soulful, inspired renditions of some of her favorite classic hits of the ‘70s from iconic artists including Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Commodores and Gladys Knight.  

Henry’s 2004 debut CD release, The Nearness of You, won considerable attention from audiences and critics in the U.S. and in Japan, where they named Nicole Best New Jazz Artist of 2004. The following year, Nicole's Teach Me Tonight reached #1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan's Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005. In 2008, The Very Thought of You substantially expanded her American audience, reaching #7 on Billboard's jazz chart. Henry’s 2011 release, Embraceable, was a slight departure from her prior recordings, and reached the top 20 on jazz and smooth U.S. jazz radio charts and was a creative triumph for Henry that established her as a peerless interpreter of jazz and pop standards, transcending genre boundaries. 

Growing up in a musical family in Bucks County, PA, Nicole immersed herself in the arts early on, singing in school and church, and studying cello and ballet. After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications and Theatre, Nicole launched a successful acting career, appearing in commercial roles as well as a series of voiceover assignments. But she directed her strongest passion toward the development of her full-time singing career which was quickly rewarded in her present hometown, when the Miami New Times named Nicole “Best Solo Musician 2002.

  • Nicole Henry has captivated audiences and earned favorable reviews by New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Jazz Times, Essence and more, establishing herself as one of the jazz world's most acclaimed vocalists.  
  • Her passionate, soulful voice and heart-felt charisma has earned her a 2013 Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance," and three top 10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums.
  • Her vocal talents, which transcend genre boundaries, combine jazz, soul and pop featuring standards, contemporary jazz and originals.
  • Nicole’s toured in over 15 countries - venues in New York, Tokyo, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Shanghai, San Francisco and Miami - including over 30 music festivals and in some of the world’s most famous venues.

photo by Rafael Balcazar

November 21, 2013


by Barbara Melendez
Courtesy of USF News

photos by Aimee Blodgett

A short distance from the Tampa campus, a business with strong ties to the University of South Florida is providing a service that is becoming increasingly rare: expert sound recording.

Morrisound – a full-service recording studio – attracts a diverse clientele. You are just as likely to hear jazz, country, gospel or bluegrass as folk, rap, hip-hop, punk, funk, R&B and death metal. Soloist, trio or larger band, church choir or orchestra, all are welcome.

“We see as broad a spectrum as you would ever hear,” says Tom Morris, co-founder of the company with his brother Jim.

The Morris brothers, both USF alums, genuinely like the variety of performers who show up at their doors.

“Part of the joy of what we do is that seldom are any two days the same,” Jim says.

The two come from a long line of musicians and music lovers. Their maternal grandfather Merlin Leslie Price owned the M. L. Price Music Company, Tampa’s largest music store in the 1920s and 1930s. For a time he also served as an organist and pianist at the Tampa Theatre for silent movies. Their father, a B17 pilot during World War II, was a trumpet player in the big bands of his era. Just about everyone in the family plays an instrument and family jam sessions happen on a regular basis.

Is it any wonder they would find themselves surrounded by music on a daily basis?

Tom and Jim Morris
Gold records at the entrance to Morrisound set the tone. Enormous sound boards in two studios – one with 80 channels and the other with 64 – make it clear: Morrisound is in the business of producing high quality professional recordings.

Clients have ranged from Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Faith Hill, Public Enemy, Robert Plant and Cheap Trick to John Travolta, Hulk Hogan and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. The bands Seven Mary Three and TSO are two of the artists who earned gold and platinum records Morrisound has on display.

The facility is not limited to recording music. The studio also does ADR work (dialog replacement) for major film companies, voice over recordings for television and radio ads. Narrative recordings for audio books – and motivational tapes are also produced there.

One memorable project with the late actor Leslie Nielson – recording his voice for a Disney film project – left a lasting impression.

“He looked like such a serious person, but he was as funny and fun to work with as he appeared to be in the ‘Airplane’ movies,” Jim says.

It’s possible to record two entirely different projects in their two state-of-the-art studios without them disturbing each other. In fact, Gen. Schwarzkopf once made an audio recording of a book he wrote in one studio while a heavy metal band from Germany rocked out in the other. When they met in the lounge on a break, they got along famously. In fact, a collaboration or two has been born in that very lounge between different clients.

The two brothers almost veered away from careers in music. They were engineering majors at USF. One would guess sound engineering, but not so. Jim was an electrical engineering major and Tom earned both a bachelor of science and a master’s degree in chemical engineering. Music was only a side interest as they played in college bands.

Captivated by the process of recording sound, the elder brother, Tom, started the process of shifting gears. He moved up to an 8-track analog recording system from a small set-up in a room in his home. He and his brother gradually moved on to better locations – a mobile truck and then a storefront – and increasingly sophisticated gear. Some of those first and best quality pieces of equipment are still integrated into their present system but those electronic gems are overshadowed by 32 years’ worth of acquisitions.

Now, three buildings under one roof comprise Morrisound’s home after launching the present-day business in 1985 as the only facility on the west coast of Florida designed solely as an audio recording facility.

While the two sound experts are both alumni, they are not the only ones from the Morris family to attend USF. Jim’s daughter is currently a student. Tom’s son attended USF as did Jim’s wife and two of their three sisters.

The USF connection continues with the addition of John Tucker to the staff. The saxophonist who received his master’s degree from USF’s School of Music in May just started working as an assistant engineer.

Assistant Engineer John Tucker
USF’s own Distinguished University Professor of Jazz Studies Chuck Owen was right at home when he recorded his latest album, River Runs, there. Morrisound also provided the perfect setting for the launch party attended by USF President Judy Genshaft and School of Music Dean James Moy.

This was not Owen’s first outing with the brothers Morris, however. He’s been recording with them since 1982, before they moved to their current location from their original storefront (1981), what was then the first new 24 track facility on Florida’s west coast. Those years encompassed “producing about a dozen USF recordings, all five of my projects with the Jazz Surge – since 1995 – and probably another dozen in which I conducted or contributed as an arranger,” he said.

“While I love working in the studio in general, working with engineers such as Tom and Jim is just pure joy. Not only are they extremely skilled, technically savvy and a pleasure to work with, they possess the most important attribute an audio engineer can have. They listen!  I trust and rely constantly on their ears and musical inclinations.”

Owen appreciates that they never “impose their own sensibilities. Having worked with Tom for so long, he has a pretty good idea of what I’m shooting for at least as a baseline. But, as every project is unique, we always spend time discussing how this might impact our recording strategy and he remains remarkably intuitive and flexible in adjusting to the special needs of the moment.”

River Runs, was like no other project Owen has worked on at Morrisound.  It required a full symphony orchestra, plus jazz musicians. Though spacious, the more-than-full complement of musicians could not fit at one time.

“We spent considerable time debating the alternatives – recording in other local venues, in other cities with large soundstages, even utilizing European orchestras or venues. Ultimately we decided both the project and budget would be better served staying here.”

For both it was a learning experience.

“I was able to proceed confidently, knowing that Tom understood and would strive to meet my artistic demands even when that might require new techniques and equipment. So we ‘tracked’ this project, recording sections, the strings, brass, rhythm, etc., separately.”

In all, there were about 10 recording or overdubbing sessions. Tom recalls working with more than 130 recorded tracks with his Solid Sate Logic 9000 recording console and a ProTools HDX Digital Audio Workstation.

That left mixing and editing and finally mastering – all at Morrisound.

“I truly am happy with the results. Just as importantly, I’m delighted that so many of the comments I get about River Runs as well as prior CDs often include praise for the ‘incredible’ sound quality.  I think many – particularly the reviewers – are astounded that a studio outside of New York, London or LA can get such clarity and warmth,” Owen said.

Not everyone who uses Morrisound is famous or already successful. Less familiar names have arrived from Europe, Asia and South America making Morrisound nearly as global as neighboring USF – though not as much anymore. Since 9/11, travel to the United States is not as easy as it once was. That tragedy and a new landscape in the world of music have changed things over the years.

“It’s very different from when budgets were in the millions,” Tom said. “Recording studios took major hits as budgets were slashed. And the recording industry underwent a huge change over the past 10 to 17 years with the spread of home computers. Home recording became a viable alternative for more and more people so we saw a lot of competition from home studios.”

Undaunted, having designed their own studios, the Morris brothers consult with people who are building studios in their homes. They also teach classes that help the do-it-yourselfers get the most out of their equipment. Their course, Recording 101, starts in September.

When musicians reach the limits of what they can do at home, musicians can bring tracks in for tweaking and expert mixing. They can also do the reverse – record the tracks at Morrisound and play with them at home.
Professional studios clearly still have a role because of what they have to offer to clients both far and near.
While in Florida on a concert tour, the group Destiny’s Child had a day off they used to record some songs.
“It’s great that they were able to find what they needed while here in town,” Jim said.

Closer to home, Owen agrees, and added, “While the facility, equipment, etc. are important, the engineer is the crucial link. Selecting an engineer that has a proven track record is smart. But you have to make sure you are able to communicate readily with him or her. It only takes doing a session or two with an engineer that doesn’t listen, or can’t be bothered to alter the way things have ‘always been done,’ to recognize how valuable a good engineer is.”

One service not all sound studios can offer is engineers who can also join the recording session. Both Morris brothers are guitar players and have been known to fill in – in a pinch.

“Sometimes when musicians want to achieve a sound and don’t know how to get it, we’ve stepped in because we have the experience,” Jim said.

Tom added, “What we enjoy most are really creative musicians, not just copying what others are doing. When they’re picky about what they want and they have a concept of where they want the music to go – that makes it a lot of fun.”

Do they see many potential stars come through their doors?

“We see a lot of really talented people who just can’t seem to make the step to the big time. I think it’s more because they have no business sense or knowledge of what it takes to have success as an artist. You have to be willing and able to go out and promote yourself,” Tom advises.

“This facility is for musicians who have crossed a certain plateau – it’s not for everybody who has ever picked up an instrument. This is the place to come when musicians need it done right with the utmost professionalism.”

Once ready, recording is surprisingly affordable, they say. In addition, musicians can register for a funding page on Morrisound’s website. “We invite anyone interested, whether our friends, colleagues or fans to visit the pages and donate to projects they’d like to support,” said Tom. “They can use the funds for tracking, mixing or mastering their projects.”

With all the talent in Tampa Bay and beyond, Morrisound’s specialists are ready, willing and able to use their expertise to record whatever comes their way – all genres – and help them sound their best.

October 21, 2013

The 2013 Latin Grammy® Street Parties Bring the Best in Latin Music to Hialeah, Florida

The Latin Recording Academy®, Eventus and Univision announced September 24, 2013 that Oscar D'Leon, Kat Dahlia, Larry Hernandez, Intocable, La Original Banda El Limon, La Santa Cecilia, Los Cuates de Sinaloa, Los Inquietos del Norte, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, and A.B. Quintanilla will headline the 2013 Latin GRAMMY® Street Parties. Rolling into its eleventh consecutive year of success, the five-stop cross-country series will lead up to the live broadcast of the most anticipated Latin awards show, the 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards®. Heating up local cities in the country starting on Sunday, Sept. 29 in Chicago, the series made its way across the U.S. with stops in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Dallas, and will finish the excitement in Hialeah on November 10th 2013.

"By celebrating the beginning of a second decade and sharing the Latin GRAMMY experience with our Latin music fans, we are excited to continue presenting a day-long festival filled with a diversity of incredible artists and their amazing music," said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. "Having Eventus as our production partner, allows this annual event to continue evolving and growing, all the while bringing spectacular talent to major Hispanic markets in the Unites States."

Year after year, this free high-energy music fest paves the way to the annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, the most prestigious award in Latin music, and brings its excitement to fans across the country. The awards show telecast will be broadcast live from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 8 – 11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central) on the Univision network.

"After eleven years of bringing the hottest music acts close to an eager audience, engaging with the consumer is key to the success and growth of the series year after year. Working closely with sponsors that care deeply about our community has been vital to our success," said Nelson Albareda, President and CEO of Eventus. "We are more committed than ever to igniting Latin GRAMMY fever across the country in the next two months."

The Latin GRAMMY Street Parties offer an interactive traveling musical festival for Hispanics, which includes live entertainment, sponsor display areas, and product sampling. The series features performances by some of Latin music's greatest established artists, while serving as a launching pad for emerging talent representing various genres, including reggaeton, regional Mexican, pop, rock en espanol, and tropical, among others. This year's lineup is sure to be a memorable one as the Latin GRAMMY Street Parties have brought together the brightest talent in Latin music and are taking them face-to-face to their admirers in this, the largest free festival music series in the country.

The 2013 Latin GRAMMY Street Parties are presented by McDonald's®, 7UP® and Walmart®.  Its official sponsors, Kellogg's® and Lowe's®, will be on board in select markets.

Sunday, November 10th – Hialeah, FL 
Streets of Hialeah – West 16th Avenue between 37th & 42nd St.
Oscar D'Leon, La Charanga Habanera, Kat Dahlia, Domino Saints, Leslie Cartaya, Periko  and Jessi Leon,  among others

About The Latin Recording Academy
The Latin Recording Academy is an international, membership-based organization comprised of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking recording artists, musicians, songwriters, producers and other creative and technical recording professionals. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for Latin music and its makers. In addition to producing the Latin GRAMMY Awards to honor excellence in the recorded arts and sciences, The Latin Recording Academy provides educational and outreach programs for the Latin music community. For more information about The Latin Recording Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @LatinGRAMMYs on Twitter, like "Latin GRAMMYs" on Facebook, and join the Latin GRAMMYs' social communities on Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.

About Eventus
Eventus is an experiential, sports and entertainment marketing company focused on connecting brands with consumers.  Eventus operates distinct business units focused on delivering innovative event properties, media properties, and integrated promotional programs targeting the multicultural markets.  The company is headquartered in Miami with offices in major cities across the United States.  For more information on Eventus, please visit

9th Annual Florida Entertainment Summit Heads to Orlando!

The Florida Entertainment Summit is the premier entertainment networking event in Florida featuring panel discussions, workshops, Power of Influence Award Dinner, fashion show, entertainment mixer, media brunch, parties and so much more!

For more info, log on to

September 21, 2013


The creative, dynamic expressions of the culturally diverse artist community in Broward take center stage in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Now in its sophomore year, Caribe Arts Fest brings the essence of the Americas and the Caribbean to downtown Fort Lauderdale through art exhibits, independent films, music and educational workshops. Taking place October 17 - 20, 2013, the festival has collaborated with Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Broward Cultural Division and the City of Fort Lauderdale to showcase the unique cultural differences that make the County a true national gem. Early bird admission is $10, available online.

Positioned as a destination event, this dynamic 4 day celebration will consist of industry professionals facilitating educational workshops; international artists, such as Haitian artist Eduoard Duval Carrie and Dillard High school celebrating their 10 year anniversary of "The Indigo Room - The Revival"; and Caribbean filmmakers, such as Dalton Narine from Trinidad screening his Carnival documentary, "Mas Man". These scheduled events will be held at NSU's Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
Rootz Underground

Musical performances, art exhibit stations, tasty cultural cuisines and a kid's art zone will be available on Saturday, October 19 at the Esplanade Park, Downtown Fort Lauderdale. In addition to the talents of local musicians and drummers, the park event will have the melodious sounds of Afro Cuban funk from internationally acclaimed band, The Spam Allstars and conscious reggae from Jamaican band, Rootz Underground.

Event:                  Caribe Arts Fest

Date:                   October 17 - 20, 2013

Activities:             Art exhibits - Music - Films - Workshop - Kids Art Zone

Locations:            Esplanade Park, Downtown Ft. Lauderdale

Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale

(all venues are in close proximity)

Detailed times and schedules are available on

This event is endorsed by the Greater Ft Lauderdale Visitors and Convention Bureau, City of Fort Lauderdale, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Florida Power and Light and the Broward Cultural Division.

Details of Events


In collaboration with Broward Cultural Division, a series of educational workshops will be offered to artists looking to jump start their creativity and entrepreneurial prospects. These events and keynotes target artists, businesspersons and those craving more knowledge. Guest presenters, Nancy Hytone Leb is an advocate for the arts and author who will discuss "Developing a Marketing Plan For the Independent Artist". Attorney, artist and advocate, Sergio Munoz Sarmiento will present "Business Formation for Artists: How to Start an Arts Nonprofit Business, and Creating Your For-Profit Artist Business."

Indie Films

For the indie film buff, Caribe Arts Fest has collaborated with the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival to screen independent films including Trinidadian filmmaker, Dalton Narine with his film "Mas Man" that looks at the creative journey. Dalton Narine is the executive producer and producer/director is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. He has focused on Trinidadian art and cultural traditions in the 14 documentaries he has produced, directed and written in a span of twenty-five years.

Art Exhibits

One of the highlights of the festivities is the proud celebrations of "The Indigo Room - Revival" - A Decade of Living Art curated by Haitian artist, Edouard Duval-Carrie. In collaboration with Dillard Center for the Arts, it signifies the artist's continued connection to the island of his birth. Knowledgeable about Vodou since childhood, Duval-Carrie incorporates the religion's theatrical sacred personages as players in his visual dramas of upheaval and transcendence. Additionally, migration of Haitian immigrants, with consequences for the country they left behind, is a persistent theme.

Talent Showcase

Spam Allstars

The eclectic sounds of latin, funk, hip hop and dub create what they call an electronic descarga will fill the air with performances by one of South Florida's finest fusion bands, Spam Allstars. In efforts to showcase the outstanding talent within the community other performers include reggae fusion by Jamaican reggae band, Rootz Underground, rising star, Ichechi and much more. Both artists are known for their community involvement through their charities the Rootz Releaf Tree Planning program and Urban Youth Green Farmers, respectfully.

About American Art Initiative

Organized by the American Art Initiative (AAI), this South Florida based organization is focused on creating avenues for artists to share their mediums while developing personal and business sustainability and viability. They do not believe in or support the "starving artist" cliche and as such work to promote arts and culture, empower artists, highlight artistic expression while advocating for and supporting entrepreneurship and economies of scale. As such, we use the term "artrepreneurship" which mean the development of business skills to continue creative expression. We are a resource for artists and art aficionados; bridging business with creativity of all mediums.

August 21, 2013

Entering its second decade, Seraphic Fire is widely regarded as one of the most important vocal ensembles in the United States. Led by Founder and Artistic Director Patrick Dupré Quigley, Seraphic Fire brings the best ensemble singers from around the country to perform repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to newly commissioned works. This past year, the ensemble’s recordings Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem and A Seraphic Fire Christmas were nominated for two 2012 GRAMMY awards. Seraphic Fire was the only choir in North or South America to be nominated, and the only classical ensemble in the world to be nominated for two separate projects.

In addition to a critically-acclaimed chamber choir, the organization has established Firebird Chamber Orchestra, which collaborates with Seraphic Fire on choral-orchestral masterworks as well as independent concerts of orchestral repertoire. The orchestra, like the chorus, is made up of top-tier performers from around the country.

Seraphic Fire’s artistic accomplishments have translated to chart-topping album sales. In the summer of 2010, Seraphic Fire’s recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (1610) reached the number one position on the iTunes classical music charts. The ensemble’s GRAMMY®-nominated recording of Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem debuted at #7 on Billboard Magazine's Classical charts, and Seraphic Fire’s newest Christmas album, of which NPR’s Morning Edition proclaims “the singing is just fabulous; this group has a really excellent blend”, broke into the top ten on the iTunes Classical charts on day of its release.

In January of 2013, Seraphic Fire signed a three-year partnership deal with Naxos of America to distribute Seraphic Fire Media. Seraphic Fire is represented worldwide by Columbia Artists Management, Inc.

Patrick Dupre Quigley
American conductor Patrick Dupré Quigley is at the vanguard of a new generation of young Baroque specialists: completely at ease at the helm of the modern symphony orchestra while still able to create the passionate, distinctive stylings of the Baroque sound. The Founder and Artistic Director of Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra, he has been described by the Miami Herald as, “a musician with a constellation of qualities rarely found in a single conductor: an enthusiastic and audience friendly personal style, a scholar’s instinct for rooting out obscure but worthy music, a scrupulous and historically informed approach to works that span a wide range of musical periods, an ability to bring out the best in his talented platoon . . . and a showman’s canny sense of how to appeal to audiences.”

Mr. Quigley was nominated for two 2012 GRAMMY® awards for his work with Seraphic Fire: Best Choral Performance for Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, and Best Small Ensemble Performance for A Seraphic Fire Christmas. He was the only conductor in the world to be nominated for two separate projects, and Seraphic Fire was the only choir in North and South America to receive a nomination. Under his direction, Seraphic Fire has released eleven recordings on the Seraphic Fire Media label, with two additional recordings forthcoming this year. In the past three years, Seraphic Fire has had albums enter the top ten on both the Billboard and iTunes classical charts—including the ensemble’s 2010 release of Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (1610), which reached the number one position on the iTunes classical music charts.

2012 saw Mr. Quigley making guest appearances with the San Francisco Symphony’s Community of Music Makers series, Cincinnati’s professional Vocal Arts Ensemble, and two separate appearances with the San Antonio Symphony. With Seraphic Fire, Patrick will conduct over 60 performances across the United States.

Quigley has been lauded as an adept arts entrepreneur and a savvy institution builder. In ten seasons, Quigley has grown Seraphic Fire & the Firebird Chamber Orchestra into a vibrant, cutting-edge arts organization—mounting acclaimed performances of Baroque mainstays, introducing new work and exploring under-performed treasures with equal success.

Quigley is the recipient of the 2004 Robert Shaw Conducting Fellowship, given annually by the National Endowment for the Arts and Chorus America to one conductor between the ages of 25 and 40 who demonstrates the potential for a significant professional career. At 26, Mr. Quigley was the youngest person to receive this award. Most recently, Mr. Quigley was awarded Chorus America’s 2011 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal, recognizing his artistic and institution building achievements with Seraphic Fire. Mr. Quigley has been a featured guest on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and is a sought-after speaker and consultant regarding arts entrepreneurship.

Patrick received his M.Mus. in conducting from the Yale School of Music, his B.A. in musicology from the University of Notre Dame, and is a graduate of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy’s Fundraising School.

July 21, 2013

Jazz Saxophonist Hulon Releases New Radio Single "Two in the Morning"

Smooth jazz and R&B saxophonist Hulon has returned with his newest single, “Two in the Morning” from his latest album After Hours. The single is currently available on iTunes and will be premiering at smooth jazz and urban contemporary radio stations with a music video to accompany that was released in June 2013.

After the success of his debut album, First Impressions, Hulon’s most recent album, After Hours, has combined passion and confidence creating Hulon’s best tracks to date. “Two in the Morning” is the third single off of After Hours featuring Howard Hewitt on vocals who is Grammy-award winner from Shalamar and Blood, Sweat & Tears.  Also featured on “After Hours,” is 2012’s “The Voice” contestant and lyricist Geoff McBride on their rendition of the Heatwave classic, “Always And Forever.”

Truly living up to its provocative title, Hulon’s 2010 independently released debut First Impressions spent 15 weeks on the Billboard Jazz Chart (peaking at #25). Its debut single “Sax on the Beach” reached #16 on the Top 50 Indie Chart and was featured on the noted jazz website, in addition to receiving national and international airplay at terrestrial and online radio. Collaborating once again with mentor, composer, producer and fellow saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, the Panama City, Florida based tenor saxman gets even more personal and intimate with his growing audience on his highly anticipated, musically eclectic follow-up After Hours. World renowned for his years with The Rippingtons, The Sax Pack and numerous hit solo albums over the past 20 years, Kashiwa again brought in some of contemporary jazz’s most powerful and dynamic players to take Hulon’s musical game on the new collection to the next level; Dave Hooper (drums), Allen Hinds (guitar), Melvin Davis (bass) and Bill Heller (keyboards) all played key roles as well on First Impressions. The new 11 track set includes a vocal and instrumental version of the Heatwave classic “Always and Forever” and eight originals penned by Kashiwa that play to Hulon’s strengths as a soulful balladeer and a grooving R&B/funk player, with a few dashes of cool and swinging traditional jazz in the mix. Highlights include the sensual late night romance “You’re Beautiful,” the whimsical mid tempo light funk tune “Takin’ My Time,” the tropical chill of “Sticky Trickuation,” the sly, “Pink Panther”-esque “Speak Easy” (featuring shuffling drum, bass and finger snap rhythm) and the high octane horn-driven jam and first single from the new release,“Do You Feel Me.” Yet there’s lot more to Hulon’s dynamic emergence onto the urban jazz scene than simple chart stats and the support of some of the genre’s best players. At its heart, it’s the story of a musical dream long deferred and unique connections between the spiritual and emotional healing power of music and the physical healing that Dr. Hulon E. Crayton does as a rheumatologist and founder of The Arthritis and Infusion Center, which specializes in the treatment of Rheumatological diseases as well as sports related injuries. The title of one of the tracks on After Hours, the tropical flavored groove tune, “Second Opinion” is a playful ode to his longtime profession. Over the past few years, Hulon has experienced the unique double blessing of performing for some of his patients, feeling joy and fulfillment as those who once could not even walk actually got up and danced and sang along—all thanks to him! Hulon has been practicing since 1986 and is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and of the American Board of Rheumatology. He has a Master’s in Hospital Administration and has served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve, obtaining the rank of Captain. In an effort to give back to the community, Hulon and his wife Dinah created the Crayton Foundation to assist in providing minorities with a feasible way to attain the funding needed to attend college; they have given numerous scholarships to students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare related fields. The foundation gave the first ever scholarship at Florida State University for African American students. The Milwaukee born and raised Hulon was originally inspired to play the alto sax by his college roommate when he was an undergrad at Lincoln University in Missouri. He taught himself the instrument and it became a favorite hobby for a time, used as recreation and stress relief as Hulon played along to his favorite recordings. He put the horn aside for years as he went to medical school at the University of Wisconsin, started his first practice, got married and began raising a family. Hulon’s interest was rekindled when all three of his children showed an interest in music and served as first chair on their respective instruments in middle school. He had loaned his daughter his old sax and she wouldn’t give it back, so he bought a tenor at a local pawn shop (after moving to Florida) and that became his main voice as he began to pursue music professionally. He started playing informally with some local musicians (enjoying cigars and martinis along the way) and then was hired to play at a festival by a promoter who heard him performing one Sunday at church; this prompted Hulon to start a band with a fellow doctor friend. Cleverly dubbing themselves On Call, the band began performing at numerous private functions, local Panama City jazz hotspots like the Boatyard, Firefly, Bonefish and large scale affairs at the Grand Panama Hotel. His incredible friendship and musical association with Jeff Kashiwa began when Hulon was in the audience at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival one year when the famed saxman was onstage playing the EWI, or Electronic Woodwind Instrument. “He started introducing this cool looking instrument and I shouted out from the crowd that I’ve gotta get me one of those,” says Hulon. “Jeff responded from the stage, ‘Not only will I sell this to you, I will also teach you how to play it!’ After the show I met him and asked if he was serious. He gave me his address, I sent him a check and he sold me his EWI. He was down in Orlando with the Rippingtons two months later and I went to see him. He took me up to his hotel room and taught me how to play EWI. At a later gig in Atlanta, he invited me backstage to meet the Rippingtons. We started doing lessons on Skype, and about a year later, Jeff was playing at a fundraiser for the Anchorage Children’s Home, which takes care of disadvantaged youth, and my band opened for him. I was nervous at first but later in the show, when he invited me to play onstage with him and we traded solos while walking parallel up the aisle in the audience, I felt like this was a musical high I could get used to!” Hulon’s later idea to hire the veteran saxman to compose a jingle for his practice inspired Kashiwa to write an extended version called “Dr. Goodfoot,” which ultimately became the first track they recorded on First Impressions. The title is a nod to James Brown’s classic “Get on the Good Foot.” Once Hulon received the blessing of his wife Dinah and the encouragement of his children, he enlisted Kashiwa to help him develop a full length album project—beginning with four demos that Kashiwa had sent him after “Dr. Goodfoot.” “The experience was surreal,” Hulon says, “as if I were suddenly on this fast track. A few years earlier, I wasn’t even playing the horn, and here I was in a studio recording with a world renowned saxophonist who believed in my potential as an artist. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. “Even as he was producing me,” he adds, “he was my teacher and mentor, telling me what I needed to do, helping make me a better player. The cool thing about Jeff is that he always has a goal for me inside his mind. He won’t always tell me what it is, but when I hit it, he tells me and then raising the bar. With constructive criticism, he knows how to get the best out of me. The experience became even more intense as we worked on After Hours. I am feeling more confident about myself as a player and artist than ever and am able to nail a song much faster. The first time we ever recorded, it took me eight hours to do the first song and four days to do three songs. This time we got almost the whole album done in three days—all thanks to Jeff’s encouragement and gentle push at the right times.” Believing that “versatility is survivability,” Hulon (with Kashiwa’s guidance) breaks the mold of the typical urban jazz output these days by offering a wide variety of styles and grooves behind his rich emotional tenor melodies. That’s not surprising considering the wide variety of genres he listens to on his iPod—from hip hop and country to orchestral and classical music. Yet beyond simply providing musical pleasure to the genre’s adult audiences, he says, “I want to be inspiring to children and a good role model to them the way I have strived to be with my own kids. I’m really enjoying this journey every step of the way. As with medicine, I get great personal joy and satisfaction having people appreciate what I do. My time in the office is devoted to physical healing. But when I’m recording or playing live onstage, that’s when the spiritual healing begins.”          

June 21, 2013


Serial entrepreneur Mark Begelman is at it again in Deerfield Beach, Florida with his newest business, Markee Music. Mark Begelman, the 2-time winner of Ernest and Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award, former Financial News CEO of the Year and Board member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is going back into the music business with partner, Keith Ridenour.

Begelman, founder of Mars Music, sees an opportunity to create something for the music community that simple doesn't exist in today's market. Mark and partner Keith Ridenour have formed Markee Rehearsal and Recording studios. Keith was the founder of Ridenour Rehearsal, which, in its day, was the only recording and rehearsal studio in Ft. Lauderdale that catered to the serious hobbyist. Having sold "Ridenours", Keith embarked on a successful song writing career, having published and produced over 50 songs. "Though I love songwriting, the opportunity to team with Mark and create a rehearsal, recording and music lesson studio, was too much to pass up," said Ridenour.

Mark Begelman, no stranger to the music business, having created Mars Music and having built that to 54 stores and $350 million in annual revenue, understood the potential to put forth a facility, unlike anything the serious music community has seen.

With the help of a few "friends", specifically, David Frangioni, recipient of dozens of gold and platinum albums, Chief Technologist and Engineer for Aerosmith, Ozzie and Chic Corea, to name some, Mark and Keith created the state-of-the-art facility for rehearsal, recording and lessons.

Markee has 6 fully equipped rehearsal studios, an 800 sq' tracking/live room, a control room, and 4 music lesson rooms. Each room has been built to STC ratings so musicians can practice and record in the most "sound correct" facility in South Florida.

Begelman's familiarity with the serious musician hobbyist is credible. Mars Music was the largest provider of music lessons in the world, having given over 1 million lessons.

"I always loved the lesson side of the business," says Begelman. "We'll have experienced teachers who get students making music quickly."

Though Markee will be able to record the likes of some of Keith's former customers, Ricky Martin, Foreigner, and Cheap Trick, the targeted customer is the weekend warrior. Bands such as "Monkey at a Typewriter" (Mark's band) needs a facility that's well equipped, clean and "happening". "I have my day job and I know I'll never get rich playing music, but we play every week, the band is very serious about it, and we want to make as good music as we're capable of."

"Every musician that walks through the doors of Markee will be treated as just that...a musician. When it comes to music, there are no barriers, we're all musicians, whether it's the first-time player or the pro," says Ridenour.

Visit the Markee website at or call at 954 794 0033.


May 21, 2013

Introducing Tyler Noel

Publishers Note: So many musicians out there work hard creating music and work very hard to be the best they can be. It is always a pleasure to meet so many talented artists from around the state of Florida. Moreover, I really appreciate the opportunity to introduce music makers to a different audience. Each person must travel their own path and Tyler Noel continues to navigate through various obstacles. I hope that some of you young and aspiring musicians can learn from Tyler’s experience and find inspiration to continue your quest to reach your personal best. 

Edward Reid

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Tyler Noel began singing at the tender age of five in the church choir. It was there at church that her passion and love for music would begin to grow. At the age of 12, Noel began her professional music career when she joined the girl group, Solo Tre. The group was signed to acclaimed producer Derek Baker, also known as Bigg D, who is known for producing Jamie Foxx’s hit, Unpredictable. After singing with Solo Tre for two years, Noel then joined the girl group Synphony that was created by songwriter and producer Troy Bell. Within a couple years, the five-piece group Synphony had became a trio and by the time Noel was 18, the thought of being a solo artist was burning in her mind.
Having been a lead singer most of her life and with years of life experience, Noel knew that being a solo artist would be the best move for her career. With plans to attend college, fate had different plans for her when she suffered a severe partially paralyzing stroke, which left her barely able to speak at the age of 18. For a while, Noel began to doubt that she would be able to go to school, but the fighter within gave her strength to overcome a speech impediment caused by the stroke. Her determination, love for music, and support from her father, who she credits as her best friend, allowed her to prevail against the odds and continue her musical journey at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida where she studied music with a concentration in vocal performance. With academic training, street credibility, and pure talent, her infectious charisma cannot be contained into one box.

Noel is inspired by the memory of her father, who passed 2007, and her life experiences in the streets of Florida. You can hear her story and passion in her music. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s uncensored, and it is truly powerful. To know Tyler Noel, is to know her music. It is there that she gives you light into her world. “I write and sing about my life and that’s why my songs are instantly relatable,” says Tyler Noel whose vocal idol is gospel icon Karen Clark Sheard. She also adores all genres of music ranging from Mozart and Bach, to Gwen Stefani and Sarah McLachlan, to Donny Hathaway and Brandy. Sultry, sexy, and unadulterated R&B singer, Tyler Noel is giving you something to listen to that is real.

The unsigned artist gearing up to sign with a major label has an album in the works and a new smash single “I Can Do Better” featuring a hypersexual duet with R&B sensation Pleasure P formerly of Pretty Ricky. The song also features the production artistry of Lil Ronnie (Brittany Spears, Bow Wow, & R. Kelly) Tyler’s story is bursting with up’s and downs, achievements as well as disappointments. “Singing is a source of healing for me. If it’s not real, how can I expect other people to believe it?” One thing remains constant to all who know and love her as family, friend, or fan: her sincerity.

  • Tyler Noel is currently ranked #5 on the R&B/Soul charts for Atlanta, GA on Reverbnation 

  • Top-ten finalist in The A&R Southern Talent Expo II (Atlanta, GA) in conjunction with PlayPro Media and Kennesaw State. 

  • She currently a top-ten finalist in the YOBISing Season 5 Singer/Songwriter contest on YOBI.TV 

  • Tyler Noel is currently over 1,491,344 total views and 11,815 subscribers on her YouTube channel at and climbing consistently. 

  • Cover/featured artist for the month of March at Unsigned Magazine 

  • Featured on in December 2012, 

  • Feature on, 

  • Tyler Noel is currently working on her full-length album and a soon to be released mix tape. 

  • Soul2Soul Music Buzz Artist of the Month R&B/Soul, 

  • 1st place Tamar Braxton “Got Chops” Challenge, 

April 20, 2013


Publishers note: I am very happy to present a special Florida Music Letter this month featuring Fats Navarro. I sincerely thank Mr. Leo T. Sullivan who made this article possible. My father was a jazz trumpeter who knew Fats at a time when they were teenagers, Fats in Key West and my dad in Miami. He always admired Fats and spoke very highly about his musicianship. Fats Navarro was an influential horn player with many of our modern jazz trumpet players tracing their innovation back to the things Fats did in his time. Therefore, I present to you a journey back into Florida’s music history and celebrate one of the great ones of all times, Fats Navarro. 

Edward Reid

The story begins in Key West, Florida where Theodore “Fats” Navarro was born of mixed Cuban-Black-Chinese parentage on September 24, 1923. His musical training began early with piano lessons at age six, but he did not start taking music seriously until he took up the trumpet at age thirteen. He became well grounded in the fundamentals of music during his high school years. He also studied tenor saxophone and played briefly with Walter Johnson’s band in Miami. After graduating high school, he joined Sol Allbrights’s band in Orlando, traveled with him to Cincinnati, took further trumpet lessons from an Ohio teacher, and soon went on the road with Snookum Russell’s Indianapolis-based orchestra.

Russell’s group, a well regarded “territorial” band in the 1940s, proved to be a valuable training ground for Fats. Such stars an J.J. Johnson and Ray Brown had paid their dues there. Fats stayed with Russell for about two years (1941-42) and became its feature trumpet soloist. At that time, his style was strongly influenced by the great Roy Eldridge and his (Fats’) third cousin, the wonderful trumpet stylist Charlie Shavers. He was yet to hear and incorporate Dizzy Gillespie’s and Charlie Parker’s message. His next stop was with Andy Kirk and his Kansas City-based “Clouds of Joy.” Here he met and forged a lasting friendship with trumpeter Howard McGhee. Maggie, as he was known, was a few years older than Fats and was an important influence in his development.

From the Andy Kirk band, Fats accepted Billy Eckstine’s invitation to join up as Eckstine’s band was both commercially successful and perhaps the most musically advanced. Besides Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, the band included at one time or other during a brief four year span a lineup of future stars that is unprecedented in all of jazz: Kenny Dorham, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Gene Ammons, Lucky Thompson, Bud Johnson, Frank Wess, Charlie Rouse, Sonny Stitt, Leo Parker, Cecil Payne, Tadd Dameron, Jerry Valentine, Tommy Potter, Art Blakey, and Sarah Vaughan were some of the more notable to pass through the band.

Unfortunately, few of the recordings give any impression of this. The record companies were mainly interested in the commercial potential of Eckstine’s rather conventional ballads. There are only a handful of examples of Navarro’s work with the band on the many recordings that were made. After an eighteen month stay, the rigors of road travel and the lack of opportunities to play his music led Fats to leave the Eckstine band and remain in New York City. There would be a period of brilliance and increasing musical maturity over the next three years. It was the summer of 1946 and Fats was about to enter his most productive period. He was now twenty two years old and already a trumpet virtuoso

New York City has been a major center of jazz development through most of jazz’s history, and 1940s was a particularly fertile period. Both the Harlem and 52nd Street musical scenes were a hotbed of jazz activity. Due to the economics of the big band and the change from a mainly dancing to a listening music, big band jazz gave way to the small jazz combo format consisting usually of a rhythm section of piano, bass and drums, and from one to three “front line” feature soloists. (There were a few notable exceptions such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, and Stan Kenton, but for the most part the big band era was over.)

The small combo format was ideal for Fats. He was able to give full expression to his ideas and soon developed a reputation as a major force on modern trumpet rivaling that of Dizzy Gillespie. As a result, he was much sought after for recording dates as a feature sideman by such jazz greats as Kenny Clarke, Dexter Gordon, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman, Bud Powell, and particularly, Tadd Dameron. He also appeared as a feature soloist on many “all-star” or “dream band” engagements, including a JATP concert at Carnegie Hall.

His association with Dameron was probably the most productive musically. They seemed to be in sympathy with one another. The Dameron influence brought a more lyrical feeling to his playing to go along with his breathtaking technical facility and his high note ability which he used sparingly but with great effect. Navarro was the feature soloist with Tadd’s group, which also included at various times Wardell Gray, Allen Eagar, J.J. Johnson, E Henry, Milt Jackson, Curley Russell, Nelson Boyd, and Kenny Clarke. The group gigged mostly around New York City and was often at the Royal Roost.

Navarro achieved considerable popularity with the jazz public and was highly admired by both critics and fellow musicians. He also was a Metronome jazz poll winner for 1948 which led to an appearance on a Metronome All Stars recording date. It would have been a natural step for him to form his own group, but he showed no inclination to do so.

Navarro, who spoke Spanish, used to jam at several Latin clubs in New York City. He recorded a Tadd Dameron original entitled “Jahbero,” based on “All the Things You Are,” with Afro-Cuban bongo player Chino Pozo (Chano’s cousin).Then, in early 1949, he recorded “Casbah,” another Dameron piece based on “Out of Nowhere, “featuring Afro- Cuban percussionists Diego Ibarra and Carlos Vidal Bolado. In late 1949, Navarro recorded a bop-mambo entitled “Stop” composed by tenor saxophonist Don Lanphere which was based on “Pennies From Heaven.”

Somewhere along the way, Fats contracted tuberculosis, which led to a sharp decline in his health and a curtailing of his musical activity over the last seventeen months of his life. He nevertheless went on the road one last time with the Jazz at the Philharmonic tour for about seven weeks in February and March of 1949.

He had only two studio recording dates in 1949, one in August on a Bud Powell date and one a month later with the little known tenor saxophonist, Don Lanphere. The last recordings in 1950, were private records done live at Birdland that featured Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. Fats holds his own throughout, while playing several long and interesting solos.

Navarro left a legacy of about 150 recorded sides of phenomenal consistent quality. In 1982, he was elected by the International Jazz Critics into the Down Beat Hall of Fame. He was a major influence on Clifford Brown and through him Navarro has indirectly influenced so many of the trumpeters playing today as Benny Bailey, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Sam Noto, Woody Shaw and even Roy Hargrove.

Theodore “Fats” Navarro died on July 6, 1950 in a New York City hospital.

Excerpts from an original text by Stuart Varden, a true Fats Navarro fan.

March 21, 2013

I Love Music Foundation Holds Benefit Concert in Support of High School Music Programs

"121 Financial Credit Union presents a free concert at the Jacksonville Landing on June 8, 2013. The show will be headlined by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Warner Bros. recording artist New Boyz. The concert will help raise funds for high school band programs and bring awareness to the needs of all music programs. There will be a performance by Chelsea Entertainment Group recording artist GUDGUD".

The I Love Music Foundation will host a benefit concert on June 8, 2013 at the Jacksonville Landing. The event will start at 2pm and run until 8pm. The Concert will feature 10 recording artists, a performance by the Teal Sound Alumni Corps and special performances from 5 of our local high school bands. The concert is headlined by recording artist Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Warner Bros. recording artist New Boyz. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus earned a Gold record with their "Don't you fake it" album, powered by the top 3 Billboard Alt Rock hit "Face Down". New Boyz has earned 3 US Billboard Platinum singles. ("You're a Jerk", "Backseat" and Tie me down ft Ray J".) The concert is presented by 121 Financial Credit Union.

The purpose of an I Love Music Tour event is to promote the importance and benefits of music education. We intend to pass out literature at the concerts showing case studies and facts about the added benefits of music education. Also in between artists we will show videos of Music education in action and testimonials from the students who are a part of high school bands, drum corps and winter guards. Also we will show testimonials from artists, politicians and business leaders who have all benefited from being in a school music program. The artists will also make mention of the importance of music in our schools. We will also have the band directors give testimonials during the concert of their struggles to keep a quality program going in the day and age of the all mighty budget cuts.

New Boyz
There has been a lot of focus on losing sports programs but there hasn't been enough spotlights shined on the need for music programs. The event on June 8th will be a celebration of all music education has to offer and show the great need for music programs. "Although the evidence shows that participation in school music programs supports higher achievement in reading and math, never in my 39 year career have the challenges to developing & maintaining high level public school music programs been greater. Now that we have serious economic challenges all over America, the need for creative ways to raise money to support our music programs is critical to our success. This is one of the newest and most creative ideas I have encountered to meet these challenges" says Frank Williams hall of fame band director.

The concert will be a free concert. High school band students will be selling discount coupons to local and national businesses of all types to raise funds for their bands. The coupon will also enter you into a sweepstakes to win a $500 gas card or two tickets and a limo ride to the Justin Bieber concert August 7. Plus many more great prizes. Coupons for the sweepstakes are $5 and can be purchased from any high school band student or online at

February 21, 2013

Ultra Music Festival Delivers on Anticipated Phase 2 Lineup

The second phase of talent confirmed for the 2013 ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL taking place March 15-17 and 22-24 during Miami Music Week, has been unveiled with what is undoubtedly the most diverse, forward thinking line-up ever billed in the event’s 15 year history.

Set to annihilate the newly designed, never-before-seen ULTRA MAIN STAGE and the aptly titled ‘MEGA STRUCTURE,’ MID PARK and more the Phase 2 DJ billing is quite simply out of this world. ALESSO, BENNY BENASSI, DIRTY SOUTH, DOG BLOOD (Boys Noize & Skrillex), ERIC PRYDZ, FEDDE LE GRAND, HARDWELL, LOCO DICE, LUCIANO, LAIDBACK LUKE, MARTIN SOLVEIG, PRETTY LIGHTS, STEVE AOKI and SVEN VÄTH are among just some of the names to join the already eye-catching line-up delivered in Phase 1, which included ABOVE & BEYOND, AFROJACK, ARMIN VAN BUUREN, AVICII, BASSNECTAR, CALVIN HARRIS, CARL COX, DAVID GUETTA, FATBOY SLIM, KASKADE, KNIFE PARTY, RICHIE HAWTIN, SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA and TIËSTO.  After 14 consecutive years of delivering the ultimate dance music experience, it was never in doubt that ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL would deliver for its 15th anniversary.

Set to shake the revamped ‘LIVE STAGE’ to its very core, the next slew of LIVE acts confirmed includes AZELIA BANKS, FAITHLESS (Live DJ & PA Set), SLEIGH BELLS, SNOOP DOGG and THE WEEKND. Joining the likes of THE BLOODY BEETROOTS, BOOKA SHADE, BOYS NOIZE, CRYSTAL CASTLES, deadmau5, DISCLOSURE, DJ FRESH (LIVE), HOT CHIP, MAJOR LAZER, MATT & KIM, MODESTEP, RUDIMENTAL, THIEVERY CORPORATION and YEASAYER announced in Phase 1 at the beginning of the year, it’s safe to say that never before has an electronic music festival offered so much variety and such an array of top live talent than this year’s fifteenth edition of ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL.

“In celebration of Ultra Music Festival’s double weekend and 15 year anniversary, what we’ve achieved with this edition’s ocean of talent and stage production is we feel unprecedented. As the industry we work in continues to explode, with so much talent emerging and the taste of our consumer changing in the process, diversity was key,” says Russell Faibisch, Ultra Music Festival Founder, Executive Producer, CEO & President. “We’ve never put so much time and effort into programming an event as we have for this year’s Ultra Music Festival. We truly hope everybody attending this year will value and more importantly enjoy the unique experience we’ve worked so hard to create,” adds Adam Russakoff, Ultra Music Festival Executive Producer, Director of Business Affairs & Talent Buyer.

There is more. ULTRA have also announced the incredible array of arenas set to appear over the two weekends this year. It wouldn’t be ULTRA without the legend that is CARL COX. Bringing his titanic CARL COX & FRIENDS ARENA to Bayfront Park this March, he’ll be playing host to some of the finest names in house and techno, including CASSY, FATBOY SLIM, JAMIE JONES, JOHN DIGWEED, LOCO DICE, LUCIANO, MAGDA, NICOLE MOUDABER, RICHIE HAWTIN, SVEN VATH, UMEK and UTO KAREM. Expect seriously big things from this much-loved ULTRA veteran and his merry following. Once again, the world’s #1 DJ ARMIN VAN BUUREN delivers his breathtaking A State Of Trance 600 stage, where ABOVE & BEYOND, ATB, COSMIC GATE, DASH BERLIN, FERRY CORSTEN, MARKUS SCHULZ, TRITONAL and W&W will all be joined by the legendary PAUL VAN DYK who will be making his long-awaited return appearance to the world’s premiere dance music event.

Finally, the MEGA STRUCTURE serves up an all-star lineup of the world’s top acts, which includes main stage regulars ALESSO, CALVIN HARRIS, DAVID GUETTA, ERIC PRYDZ and TIËSTO, just one example of what ULTRA meant by “2 Weekends, 2 Unique Experiences.” Fans will rejoice to see their favorite artists tackle both the Main Stage and the Mega Structure at ULTRA 15. Keeping it going for underground fans, new to ULTRA this year is SURFACE, a brand new concept arena held each Sunday of the festival at the Bayfront Stage. Reading as a ‘who’s who’ from the world of the underground scene, look forward to seeing the likes of ART DEPARTMENT, CLAUDE VONSTROKE, DAMIAN LAZARUS, DANNY DAZE, DROOG, FRANCESCA LOMBARDO, GUY GERBER, JUSTIN MARTIN, LEE FOSS, MACEO PLEX, MAYA JANE COLES, MIGUEL CAMPBELL, SETH TROXLER, SOUL CLAP, SUBB-AN, TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS, WOLF & LAMB and more.

ULTRA is not only delivering the world’s greatest underground sounds each Sunday, but every day of the festival. The MIXMAG STAGE will play host to performances by tech gurus CARLO LIO, DUBFIRE, ELIO RISO, JON RUNDELL, JOSH WINK, SHADED and YOUSEF on Friday of Weekend 1. The second Friday will boast additional techno sounds from AUDIOFLY, CARL CRAIG, KEVIN SAUNDERSON, NINA KRAVIZ, PAUL WOOLFORD, RADIO SLAVE and STACEY PULLEN. Each Saturday will also see a myriad of techno and deep house artists that include DAVID SQUILLACE, tINI + GUTI, MARTIN BUTTRICH, NIC FANCIULLI B2B JORIS VOORN, REMO, ROBERT DIETZ, SCUBA, STEVE LAWLER, and TIGA on Weekend 2, and an undisclosed arsenal of premier DJs to play on Weekend 1. SPACE IBIZA (voted #1 Club in the world and winning multiple awards) plans a triumphant return on Saturday, March 23 to host the tech house and techno acts that they are known for.  Also hosting stages will be Skrillex’s formidable OWSLA label, Afrojack’s JACKED, Mark Knight’s TOOLROOM, with more to be announced in Phase 3.Completing the full house, the brand new ‘TRAPPED’ arena, featuring the likes of BAAUER, BRO SAFARI, DJ CRAZE, DILLON FRANCIS, FLOSSTRADAMUS, NADASTROM and many more look more than adequate to cater to the new trap craze.

Finally, for the ninth consecutive year, ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL proudly welcomes back the “ECO Village”.  This area is dedicated to the exposure and understanding of numerous non-profit organizations and charities, and will run over both weekends of the festival.  You can find several interactive booths that provide an informative outlook on the world today.

As the world’s most famous outdoor electronic music festival, ULTRA has won “Best Music Event” by the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) six consecutive years, from 2005 to 2011, “Best International Dance Music Festival” by the Ibiza DJ Awards in 2008 and “Best Festival” by the Village Voice Media New Times consecutively five years running from 2005 through 2009.  Originally created as a pure EDM (electronic dance music) festival in 1999, ULTRA has grown through the years to present not only the genre’s hottest, biggest and best headline artists (The Prodigy, Swedish House Mafia, The Chemical Brothers, Tiësto, David Guetta, deadmau5, Underworld, Kraftwerk, Armin van Buuren, Moby, Fatboy Slim, Justice, Carl Cox and Avicii to name a few), but also crossover headline bands that incorporate EDM elements in their music and have a history or new beginning in the EDM community and culture (The Cure, The Killers, New Order, Duran Duran, The Black Eyed Peas, Erasure, M83, Santigold, The Ting Tings, Cut Copy, Empire of the Sun and Bloc Party). In 2012, global pop icon Madonna appeared as a special surprise guest—the festival’s gift to their fans—to introduce the main stage final headlining artist AVICII, joining him behind the decks to premiere his UMF remix of her new single “Girl Gone Wild.”  The year also was the subject of CAN U FEEL IT, a major documentary feature about the festival, which was shown in over 500 theatres nation-wide.  Together with its signature, cutting-edge productions, ULTRA is unrivalled by consistently presenting the world’s greatest, most diverse EDM line-ups year after year.
In 2013, as it celebrates its 15 year anniversary, ULTRA will become the first major EDM festival in the world to expand to two weekends with dates set for March 15, 16 and 17 and March 22, 23 and 24.
A global brand, ULTRA takes place in Miami, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ibiza and Korea, expanding into Europe with ULTRA EUROPE July 2013 in Croatia.

January 21, 2013

UM Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg Nominated for Grammy Award

Shelly Berg

Last month, nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and pianist-arranger-composer Shelly Berg, who is also dean of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, was nominated in the category “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)” for his arrangement of “Out There,” on Lorraine Feather’s CD Tales of the Unusual (Jazzed Media). Berg and Feather are frequent musical collaborators and co-wrote the song.

Other nominees in the same category this year include Esperanza Spalding, Vince Mendoza and Nan Schwartz. Winners will be announced at the Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles on February 10.

An accomplished pianist in both classical and jazz styles, Shelly Berg is a recording artist for Concord Music Group, and a Steinway piano artist. He has arranged and recorded with many award-winning artists and is currently arranging and co-producing a new CD with Gloria Estefan (Sony International). He is featured as an arranger and pianist on two Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winning Arturo Sandoval projects on the Concord label. The Shelly Berg Trio (Shelly Berg, piano; Gregg Field, drums; Chuck Berghofer, bass) recently recorded an all-Gershwin CD with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, José Serebrier, conductor.

Berg was a featured speaker at the TEDxMIA conference on Miami Beach in October and performs at major music festivals and venues throughout the world. He was named dean of the UM Frost School of Music in 2007 where, in addition to teaching both privately and in the Frost Experiential Music Curriculum, he administers the academic, musical and research pursuits of over 700 music students and 100 faculty. He was formerly the McCoy/Sample endowed music professor at USC Thornton School of Music where he taught for 16 years.

Berg was a featured performer on several concerts during the 29th annual Festival Miami in October, and performed on piano and the B-3 organ at the Hollywood Bowl in July for a Ray Charles Tribute concert (Gregg Field, producer). Upcoming appearances in South Florida are December 12 for the Gold Coast Jazz Society at the Broward Center with vocalist Cheryl Bentyne (nine-time Grammy winner with Manhattan Transfer) and on January 11, 2013 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami as part of Larry Rosen’s JazzRoots Series.

For more information, or

Lorraine Feather

Lorraine Feather’s Tales of the Unusual follows on the heels of her stages-of-life album Ages, which received a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. All of the lyrics on Tales of the Unusual are by Feather, with music by her close longtime collaborators Russell Ferrante, Eddie Arkin and Shelly Berg; it also features music by Duke Ellington, Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi and film composer Nino Rota. The album is aptly described in Carl L. Hager's liner notes as "a musical inquiry into that mysterious labyrinth at the distant edges of rational human behavior, a foggy moor equal parts chilling nightmare and blinding vision quest, vaudevillian adventure and paralytic terror." Despite the far-fetched nature of some of the stories, common human emotions underlie them—loneliness, longing, and unexpected joy. Lorraine Feather is a prolific lyricist and has written lyrics for many Disney Channel television shows. She has received seven Emmy nominations.

For more information,

55th Annual Grammy Award Nominees:

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) Category

“City of Roses”
Thara Memory & Esperanza Spalding, arrangers (Esperanza Spalding)
Track from: Radio Music Society [Heads Up International]

“Look to the Rainbow”
Gil Evans, arranger (Gil Evans Project and Luciana Souza)
Track from: Centennial - Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans [ArtistShare]

“Out There”
Shelly Berg, arranger (Lorraine Feather)
Track from: Tales of the Unusual [Jazzed Media]

“Spain (I Can Recall)”
Vince Mendoza, arranger (Al Jarreau And The Metropole Orkest)
Track from: Live [Concord Records]

“Wild Is the Wind”
Nan Schwartz, arranger (Whitney Claire Kaufman And Andrew Playfoot)
Track from: The Greatest Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin [LSO Live]

About the University of Miami Frost School of Music

The Frost School of Music, one of two schools created in 1926 when the University of Miami was founded, is one of the largest and most relevant schools in the U.S., and one of the most comprehensive in all of higher education. The naming gift from Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost was one of the historic highlights in the life of the School. The Frost School has pioneered new curricula including the ground-breaking Frost Experiential Music Curriculum, and was the first in the nation to offer professionally accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Business and Entertainment Industries, Music Engineering Technology, and a master’s in Arts Presenting. Its premier ensembles include the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Frost Wind Ensemble, Frost Opera Theater, Frost Jazz Vocal Ensemble and Frost Concert Jazz Band. Now the home of the Henry Mancini Institute, the Frost School also offers a songwriting minor through the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music Program and was among the first to offer degrees in Music Therapy, and Studio Music and Jazz. Its graduate jazz program is ranked among the top three in the nation. The University of Miami School of Law and the Frost School now offer the first-ever joint degree program in law and music business (J.D./M.M.). The Frost School’s innovative programs, combined with its traditional areas of concentration, offer its students one of the widest choices of career programs of any music school in the nation.