December 21, 2016

The Wait Is Over!!!

LL Cool J
Jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop and soul bounce — music for every appetite will be had at the 12th annual Jazz in the Gardens (JITG) Music Fest, which has released another stellar lineup of artists for the ever-popular festival presented by the City of Miami Gardens.
Robin Thicke; Herbie Hancock; Morris Day and The Time; as well as Jazz in the Gardens All Stars, Will Downing, Chante Moore, Marion Meadows and headliner Jill Scott, will command the stage on Saturday’s day one.

November 21, 2016

Diana Soviero and Bernard Uzan to Become Artistic Directors of FGO's Young Artist Program

Florida Grand Opera (FGO) is proud to announce the addition of new artistic leadership to the company’s nationally-recognized Young Artist Program. Beginning with the 2017-2018 season, beloved singing actress and educator Diana Soviero and acclaimed opera director Bernard Uzan will become the artistic directors of FGO’s Young Artist Program. Duties for these roles will include auditioning candidates, choosing repertoire, assigning mainstage roles and covers, and providing guidance and support for the Young Artists in their artistic growth. This addition to the FGO family will position the Young Artist Program to continue its legacy of contributing top-level talent to the next generation of opera, and will grow the program’s curriculum with a wealth of knowledge to keep it innovative and competitive.

“Bernard and Diana are not only two of the most well-respected and talented people in our industry, they are also great friends and supporters of FGO.” states Susan T. Danis, General Director and CEO of Florida Grand Opera. “Their presence will be of paramount importance to our current and future Young Artists and will elevate the prestige of our program both nationally and internationally.”

No stranger to FGO’s audiences, Diana Soviero is one of the most recognized American opera singers of the twentieth century. More than merely a vocalist, Ms. Soviero was a singing actress who lived her roles intensely on the stage. As her lyric soprano voice blossomed into a spinto with vivid colors, Ms. Soviero became a compelling interpreter of the verismo repertoire. She created a gallery of unforgettable operatic portraits in performances at leading international opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra national de Paris, Opéra de Paris Bastille, Hamburg Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Francisco Opera.

Opera Magazine proclaimed Ms. Soviero as “one of the world’s great singing actresses,” as she mastered the vocal and acting skills required to make roles come alive on the operatic stage. She is particularly renowned for her interpretations of Puccini’s heroines, including Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Mimì and Musetta in La bohème, Liù in Turandot, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and the title roles in Tosca, Manon Lescaut, and Suor Angelica. She is also esteemed for her work in the French repertoire, having sung such roles as Marguerite in Faust, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette and the title role in Manon. Other critically acclaimed leading roles include Violetta in La traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, Margherita in Mefistofele, and Maddalena in Andrea Chénier. Her poignant death scenes remain indelibly imprinted in the memory of all who saw her roles in productions such as Giordano’s Fedora, Suor Angelica, and Adriana Lecouvreur. Her final stage appearance was as Mrs. Desrochers in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Baltimore Opera.

For more than a decade, Ms. Soviero has dedicated herself to teaching singers with the same passion that characterized her singing and acting career. She currently serves on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music, and teaches many of The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists, giving both private lessons in her Manhattan studio and master classes across the country. She frequently conducts master classes with prestigious companies and festivals such as the Glimmerglass Festival, Florida Grand Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Opera Philadelphia, Palm Beach Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Opera Tampa; institutes and conservatories such as the Academy of Vocal Arts, the Mannes School of Music, El Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, VOICExperience with Sherrill Milnes, The Israeli Institute, and universities throughout the United States, including the University of Hawaii (in conjunction with Hawaii Opera Theatre), the University of Wisconsin, Université de Montréal, Lawrence University, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In June of 2011, she was awarded the V.E.R.A. (Voice Education Research Award) from The Voice Foundation, was hailed as a Master Teacher, and is now an official member of their board of directors. In September 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Giulio Gari Foundation, and was also named an official voice instructor for the Domingo Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. In May 2014, Diana was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Gerda Lissner Foundation.

Bernard Uzan has dedicated his life to the development of the performing arts industry for the past 50 years. His extensive background in the Performing Arts includes great achievement as a General Director, Artistic Director, Stage Director, Artist Manager, Set Designer, Librettist, Educator, Actor, and published novelist and Internet journalist. Last year, Mr. Uzan received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Giulio Gari Foundation.

In 1982, he directed his first operas with Opera Saratoga (Pagliacci), Opera Philadelphia (La rondine), and Michigan Opera Theatre (La traviata and Faust). In 1984, he directed Carmen for the Tulsa Opera, returning the following year for Faust with Neil Shicoff, Samuel Ramey, and Diana Soviero. He was subsequently appointed General Director. In 1986, he directed a new production of Roméo et Juliette for Opéra de Montréal.

Two years later, he was appointed General and Artistic Director of Opéra de Montréal, and remained from 1988 to 2002. He brought the company great financial success and international artistic renown. He supplemented the standard operatic canon by programming lesser- known and contemporary pieces, and world premieres such as Thérèse Raquin by Tobias Picker and Nelligan by André Gagnon.

As a stage director and producer, his 415 productions have won numerous awards and appeared on the stages of more than 100 opera companies throughout the world in such cities as Buenos Aires, Caracas, Catania, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Mexico City, Miami, Monte Carlo, Palermo, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Zurich, Toronto, Vancouver, and Erfurt, where his recent production of Carmen was voted Best Production of the Year. He is also a co-designer of more than 50 opera productions.

Committed to nurturing the artists of tomorrow, Mr. Uzan continues teaching courses, classes, and workshops as an integral part of his busy schedule. He has served on the faculties of Wellesley College, Middlebury College, Sarah Lawrence University, and Mount Holyoke College, in addition to directing young artist programs. He is also the co-founder and director of Uzan International Artists, a leader in international artist management, with a diverse roster including classical singers for opera and concert, actors for stage and screen, directors, designers, and conductors.

Mr. Uzan recently added the title of librettist to his ever -growing and impressive history with opera and the arts. Based upon the original play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, Uzan wrote the libretto for Cyrano, with a score composed by David DiChiera, which premièred in the fall of 2007 at Michigan Opera Theatre to great acclaim, and had subsequent performances at Opera Philadelphia and Florida Grand Opera. The production is scheduled to be revived in multiple cities in the next two seasons.

In 2008, his novel The Shattered Sky was published both in French and English by Enigma Books, and became Mr. Uzan’s first English- language published work. His blog, The Wooden Sword, has an avid fan base, and will soon be collated to create his second published novel.

October 21, 2016

Jessie Abbey: From California to Florida

Jessie Abbey

Two weeks ago most of us who live on the eastern shores of Florida braced in anticipation of a very strong storm that wreaked havoc throughout the Caribbean Islands. Florida was sure to feel the effects of the very large storm, therefore we all prepared the best we could. After the storm passed I contacted this weeks’ featured artist Jessie Abbey to see if all was okay. She assured me that she did not incur any major damage and everything was fine. Moreover, I am happy to feature a musician from the Daytona, Florida area for the second consecutive month. I’m sure all of you reading Florida Music Letter will enjoy the music of Jessie Abbey and find her story very compelling.

Jessie Abbey is the keyboard player, lead singer and co-founding member of indie pop outfit, Musical Charis. Since 2008, they have released 7 albums and toured nationally before a recent move from California to Florida for a change of creative scenery and a chance to explore other markets across the United States. The relocation of the band has given her new-found freedom to explore deeper avenues of music rooted in her childhood upbringing as a lover of retro-folk, reminiscent of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. She has nestled into a vocally haunting, folk-influenced sound giving fans a more intimate look into her craft as a solo performer. She will release a long-awaited and highly-anticipated solo project "The Deep and the Sea" EP on November 4th of 2016.

As I reflected upon the story of Musical Charis moving from California to Florida, I must say I became very interested in their story. Many times I’ve seen musicians make the move in the opposite direction. California offers various opportunities not found in Florida, especially Northern Florida. South Florida can be a nice place for those looking for a start in the musical industry. However, the chosen music genre could be a deciding factor. California possesses almost limitless resources for those interested in a career in entertainment of all kinds.

The one thing I noticed about the move as far as Abbey and Musical Charis were concerned: the reasons for the move had more to do with the creative process. Of course, the southeastern United States might help with the style of folk based music. Now we will get a chance to hear for ourselves and judge if the move was truly beneficial.

The official music video for the first single on the record "The Deep and the Sea" was released in early September followed by the official release of the 5 song EP on November 4th, 2016.  She will promote the release on several mini East Coast tours in the fall and winter as well as a return to the West Coast in spring of 2016 to bring the album back to her roots in Sacramento, CA.

September 21, 2016

Progressive Americana-Rock Band GREYE Release New Album The Worrier

Florida based Progressive Americana band GREYE have released their new album The Worrier via Lakehouse Records.

What happens when you combine traditional acoustic folk instruments and add guitar influences from the likes of John Butler, Brian May, or Greg Lake?

But wait there's more, now add bass lines inspired by Alex Lifeson and yes even video games, back beats reminiscent of Steely Dan, Traffic, Motown or even YES -all of which create the pallet for the really interesting part...the lyrics!

The result is a very eclectic, rhythmic, groovy, refreshing approach to modern music...they call themselves GREYE and they call their music Progressive Americana! After all, the world is not just black and white but many, many shades of GREYE!

“GREYE” a Daytona Beach, Florida based group of musicians is comprised of five members: Hannah Summer (vocals), Jett Wolfe (guitar and vocals), Josh Reid (bass and vocals), and Ray Grimard (drums and percussion), Ken-e Williams (keyboards and vocals).

The band is currently on tour supporting their new release. You can find more information as well as upcoming shows on the band's website: says about the lead single "The Worrier", "Right from the first note the dark funk grabs the listener’s attention. Enter Hannah’s sultry vocals and you are now fully involved. They build into all out power as she hits the chorus hard. The band is tight as GREYE takes you on a journey through the song. That same bassline weaves its way into your head and will be there long after the song comes to a close."

GREYE formed in the spring of 2013, the chance meeting of all its members happened almost by accident. Hannah, Jett, and Josh originally formed an acoustic trio called “Locals Only" in order to enter the 2013 Sea breeze High School Battle of the Bands. They played only one song called GREY. The band finished in the runner up position. All three were very pleased with their performance. However, there was one variable they were unaware of when they went home that Thursday evening.

In the audience that night was a teacher who also was a musician/studio engineer and studio owner who saw magic in the three musicians on that auditorium stage. The next day he approached the bass player Josh and asked if he would be interested in coming by the studio with his two friends and jamming with a drummer. The next week all four met at Ray’s studio beginning the process to see if the magic could include an additional player... and one that was definitely not a contemporary.

Initially, Ray's approach was to develop a sound then replace the drummer (himself) and he would just assume the role of producer and engineer. However, much to his surprise the band insisted that he stay on as both the producer and the drummer. The combination of different influences and varied years of experience has absolutely exceeded the vision Ray envisioned on that high school stage.

For the last 30 months these four members embarked on a very rigorous and disciplined approach to both putting a band together and writing and recording their own music. Rehearsing as much as 20 hours a week has become the norm for this band. In November 2014, GREYE added an additional member to its lineup; Ken-E Williams. Ken-E a veteran successful musician in his own right, adds additional keyboard magic and brings the already unique GREYE sound to an even higher level.

In 2014, the band released their critically acclaimed 14 song first album "Providence." Songs from "Providence" found themselves in heavy rotation in multiple radio stations across the globe and resulted in a BMI invitation to play the 2015 Key West Songwriters Festival; the top songwriters festival in the world. In 2015, GREYE released their second album "The Tube”.

Like Providence, "The Tube" is a very musical collection of 14 songs. Each song paints a different story and allows the listener to become part of the journey. The harmony between the acoustic guitars, piano. and acoustic drums create a solid and musical groove that support each individual song's lyrics.

So, do yourself a favor and catch GREYE live or at least visit their website at – we guarantee that you will find either experience very musically refreshing.

August 21, 2016

Andrew Coleman Inducted Into Full Sail Hall Of Fame

Full Sail University of Winter Park, Florida, is proud to announce the 2016 Full Sail University Hall of Fame induction class comprised of six graduates recognized for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment, media, and the arts. The induction of this new class of honorees will occur during Full Sail's 8th Annual Hall of Fame Week, scheduled to be held February 12-17, 2017. The Florida Music Letter features one of those graduates, Andrew Coleman.

Andrew Coleman

Current Title: Producer, Mixer & Engineer
Industry Credits: As a GRAMMY award-winning Producer, Mixer and Engineer Andrew Coleman has worked with some of the hottest artists of the past two decades including: Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, N*E*R*D, Lenny Kravitz, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Little Big Town, Zac Brown, Snoop Dogg, Bruno Mars, Robin Thicke, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Usher, and Ludacris, to name a few.
Andrew is also the Chief Engineer for the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo), and won his first GRAMMY in 2003 for his work on Justin Timberlake's "Justified" and his second GRAMMY in 2014 for his work on Pharrell Williams' album "Girl."
1995 Graduate (Recording Arts)

For more than two decades, Andrew Coleman, 2 time Grammy Award winning engineer, mixer, producer and guitarist, has been behind the boards for some of the biggest pop hits in this country and the world.

 As the chief engineer for Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Drew has worked with artists that cross nearly all musical genres including Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Robin Thicke and Gwen Stefani  - to name a few.

 In fact, more than 200 million records sold worldwide have the name Andrew Coleman on them.

 Drew credits his rise from a guitar player in a high school garage band in Southern California to a simple concept: A love of music. All music.

 Drew got his start as a teenager after his band earned enough money to record a demo. To this day, he remembers opening the doors of his first recording studio and his life was forever changed. Drew had found his true passion: making records.

 After moving to Virginia Beach, Va., Drew partnered with Pharrell and Chad, helping bring the Neptune sound to the masses and shaping some of the biggest hits of the last 20 years.

 Since the team formed, he has worked with a virtual Who’s Who of popular music including those listed above along with Prince, The Rolling Stones, Chris Martin, The Edge, Beyonce, Jay Z, Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Ce Lo, Shakira, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, Mary J. Blige, J Lo, Usher, Ludacris, Nelly, Bruno Mars and most recently No Doubt.

 And, the list goes on.

 Even as he works as an engineer, producer and mixer, he continues to play guitar on records with NERD, Madonna, Ed Sheeren, Snoop Dogg, Miley Cyrus and Pharrell.

 In addition, Drew has worked on the acclaimed soundtracks for The Amazing Spiderman 2, Despicable Me, 1&2, Fast N Furious, Rush Hour 2, Dr. Doolittle, Bad Boys 2 and Barbershop 2.

 In 2003, Drew won his first Grammy for Justin Timberlake’s album, Justified, in the Best Male Pop category. Justified had also been nominated for Album of the Year.

 In 2005, Drew received three Grammy nominations – two for Album of the Year with Mariah Carey’s “Emancipation of Mimi” and Gwen Stefani’s “Love. Angel. Music. Baby” and a nomination for Song of the Year with Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”

 In 2008, Drew was nominated for a Grammy as a Mixer with Madonna for Best Dance Recording with “Give it 2 Me” and was an Engineer on the Grammy Winning Album “Growing Pains” with Mary J. Blige.

 In 2012, Drew was nominated for two Grammys with Frank Ocean for his album “Channel Orange.”  The album won Best Urban Contemporary and was a finalist for Album of the year.

 Most recently, in 2013, Drew was nominated for two Grammys: Song of the Year with Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Record of the Year for Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.”

 There have been several other nominated projects over the years including work with Beyonce, Ludacris, Common and Gloria Estefan.

 The only question remaining: Who’s next?

July 21, 2016

Frost School of Music Dean Berg Appointed as JAZZ ROOTS Artistic Advisor

Dean Shelly Berg
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the University of Miami's Frost School of Music are proud to announce the thrilling six-concert lineup for the JAZZ ROOTS 2016-2017 season as well as the appointment of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music Dean SHELLY BERG as Artistic Advisor for the groundbreaking series. A world-renowned musician, composer and educator, Berg has been involved as a collaborator on JAZZ ROOTS since its inception. The Arsht Center invited Berg to expand his role to include assisting with creative direction for the series following the passing in 2015 of JAZZ ROOTS co-founder and co-creator Larry Rosen, with whom Berg also collaborated for many years.

The ninth season of JAZZ ROOTS will launch befittingly with an all-star tribute to series co-founder Larry Rosen, commissioned especially for the 10th Anniversary of the Arsht Center. The extraordinary season will continue with five musically diverse concerts each starring some of the most celebrated headliners in the music industry today.

"It is hard to imagine JAZZ ROOTS without Larry Rosen. Together we realized a vision that has become one of the most celebrated jazz series in the world. In passing the torch to Dean Berg, the 2016-2017 season promises to reach the high standards of musicality and diversity that has become the mainstay of the concert and educational series that has established the Arsht Center as one of the most recognized concert halls in the world for jazz. Shelly has long been part of our JAZZ ROOTS family and we are excited to welcome him as our new artistic advisor,” said John Richard, president and CEO of the Arsht Center.

"Larry and I shared so many visions over our many years of friendship and working together, most notably our love of jazz, educating young people about jazz and creating an awareness among the masses about the roots of America's true art form. While I am so saddened he is no longer with us both personally and professionally, I am honored the Arsht Center has entrusted me to take the helm of the extraordinary program he set forth. I look forward to paying tribute to Larry in our opening concert and presenting all the exciting shows we have scheduled this upcoming season,” said Dean Shelly Berg, JAZZ ROOTS artistic advisor.

Among Dean Berg’s numerous outstanding achievements: he is a four-time GRAMMY nominee and was named one of the “educators of the millennium” by the Los Angeles Times. Berg has recorded and performed with diverse artists, including Gloria Estefan, Renee Fleming, KISS, Chicago, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, etc. He composed a piece for the Dali Lama's World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles, in addition to composing for top network television series and major studio films.

The concert lineup for the JAZZ ROOTS 2016-2017 six-concert season in the John S. and
James L. Knight Concert Hall is as follows:

Dave Grusin, The Frost School of Music’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and StarStudded
Cast (to be announced)
November 4, 2016 at 8 p.m.
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

The ninth season kicks off with a very special evening in tribute to the legendary co-founder of JAZZ ROOTS and GRP Records - Larry Rosen, who passed away in October 2015. Multiple GRAMMY and Academy Award-winning musician, composer and producer, Dave Grusin, a longtime collaborator of Rosen’s with whom he founded GRP Records, will be joined by the Frost School of Music’s Henry Mancini Orchestra and a star-studded cast to celebrate Rosen’s extraordinary musical accomplishments spanning over 35 years, which earned 33 GRAMMY Awards, 80 GRAMMY nominations and numerous other prestigious honors.

Dave Koz
With special guests Jonathan Butler, Kenny Lattimore and Valerie Simpson
November 26, 2016 at 8 p.m.
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

Nine-time GRAMMY® nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz and a trio of special guests – Jonathan Butler, Kenny Lattimore and Ashford and Simpson’s Valerie Simpson will capture the magic of Christmas in the 19th anniversary edition of Koz’s holiday tour. Koz, who has charted nine number one albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Album chart and has released five holiday albums, has assembled another stellar lineup for 2016. The irrepressible Jonathan Butler, an “alumni” of the tour, has earned accolades in the R&B, contemporary jazz and gospel fields and recently released a new studio album entitled Free. GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Kenny Lattimore, hailed by The New York Times as a “modern soul man,” has released seven solo albums, including his latest, Anatomy of a Love Song. Acclaimed vocalist Valerie Simpson co-wrote such classic hits as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” as half of the songwriting/performing/producing entity Ashford and Simpson. She recently released a new solo album, Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again. Together these four remarkable artists will put fresh spins on holiday classics as well as other selections that beautifully capture the spirit of the season.

Wynton Marsalis

January 20, 2017 at 8 p.m.
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

Under Wynton Marsalis’ direction, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs a repertoire across the full jazz spectrum - from the music’s New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz. In its stunning performances, the orchestra showcases new compositions and arrangements by Marsalis, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and jazz contemporaries. The orchestra may also perform the unique repertoire for which it is world-renowned: modern renditions of traditional favorites including tunes by Thelonious Monk; classic Blue Note Records selections by Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Joe Henderson; and selections from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s 2015 album release, Live in Cuba.

February 24, 2017 at 8 p.m.
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

Joining forces for this extraordinary evening are two piano titans who hail from different eras:music icon Chick Corea and one of the new masters of jazz piano, Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Keyboardist, composer and bandleader Chick Corea is a DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, as well as the fourth most nominated artist in GRAMMY history with 63 nominations and 22 wins, in addition to a number of Latin GRAMMYS. From straight-ahead to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, children’s songs to chamber and symphonic works, Corea has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his illustrious career while maintaining a standard of excellence that is awe-inspiring.

GRAMMY and multiple Latin GRAMMY-winning pianist/composer Gonzalo Rubalcaba is considered one of the new masters of modern jazz piano. He has built a career, and with it, a musical bridge, to span the rich musical traditions of his native Cuba with North American jazz and has been described by The New York Times as “one of the greatest musicians in jazz and a pianist of super-natural abilities.” Rubalcaba was commissioned by the Arsht Center for its 10th anniversary season to create a new work fusing Cuban and flamenco sounds. The piece celebrated its world premiere in March 2016.

March 17, 2017 at 8 p.m.
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

For their Arsht Center debut, the 3-time GRAMMY Award-winning Branford Marsalis Quartet will be joined by guest vocalist and GRAMMY Award winner Kurt Elling in a singular collaboration of musical forces. The tight-knit working band featuring Marsalis on saxophones, Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass, and Justin Faulkner on drums rarely invites other musicians into the fold of their nearly telepathically cohesive unit. Elling’s deep jazz vocabulary, technical versatility, and outstanding intonation will enable the band to perform a variety of material in new ways. Opening for the quartet will be jazz vocalist, composer and Miami native, Carmen Lundy who is hailed by The Evening Standard as “a genuine jazz singer.”

Steve Miller, Henry Mancini Institute Big Band and special guests Jimmy Vaughan, Mike
Flanigin and Shelly Berg
April 7, 2017 at 8 PM
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

When the music of Ma Rainey meets Miles Davis, expect the realms of blues and jazz to be out of this world. Originally developed for and performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center this past season, renowned blues-rock guitarist, multi platinum-selling singer/songwriter, 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and life-long jazz fan Steve Miller hosts a wide-ranging musical-and-beyond revue with special guests: Jimmy Vaughan on guitar, Mike Flanigin on the Hammond B3 organ and JAZZ ROOTS artistic advisor Shelly Berg on piano. From his distinctively recognizable guitar and vocals, to engaging commentary, high-energy jamming, and much more, the evening promises surprises and high-level performances. Having learned his first chords at age five from his godfather Les Paul, how to play lead guitar from T-Bone Walker at age nine, and then working with the best Bluesmen in Chicago – Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, and Paul Butterfield – Miller has incorporated his affinity for the blues into such hits as “The Joker,” “Fly Like An Eagle,” and “Jet Airliner.”


JAZZ ROOTS 2016-2017 series subscriptions, which include tickets to all six performances, are on sale to the public beginning July 10 with seating priority given to renewing subscribers. Subscribers can save up to 35% with six-show packages ranging in price from $160-$790* and can be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office at 1300 Biscayne Blvd., by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at Single tickets, if available after the subscription campaign ends, will go on sale later this summer.


JAZZ ROOTS is an institution in Miami music and has been credited with revitalizing America’s art form in the region. More than 80,000 people have attended the annual six-part concert and educational series, which has also benefited more than 8,000 high school jazz music students who have participated in the JAZZ ROOTS: Sound Check educational program. JAZZ ROOTS was co-created by the Adrienne Arsht Center in 2008 in collaboration with the late music industry entrepreneur Larry Rosen and, since then, has presented a rich variety of thematically based concerts exploring the spectrum of jazz. The series has featured hundreds of the greatest living jazz artists/ensembles on the scene today and has introduced Miami audiences to rising stars and local talent. JAZZ ROOTS has showcased every unique style and incarnation of jazz – from Latin jazz and fusion to bossa nova and straight ahead, as well as presented tribute programs honoring American icons Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Since its inception, the series has drawn more than 80,000 jazz lovers to the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall for memorable evenings with such jazz superstars as George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Michael Feinstein, Dave Grusin, Keith Jarrett, Eddie Palmieri, and Sonny Rollins, as well as world-class ensembles, including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, the Count Basie Orchestra, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Quincy Jones has heralded JAZZ ROOTS as “the most important new jazz and educational series in America!” This history making series has sold-out dozens of concerts since it was launched eight years ago.

JAZZ ROOTS also features JAZZ ROOTS: SOUND CHECK, an in-depth educational partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools which has brought more than 8,000 high school music students to the Center for a complimentary and unique behind-the-scenes experience including: a pre-concert sound check; a Q&A session with featured artists followed by a workshop with a local jazz expert that will highlight the music, the artistic process and the practical skills needed for a career in the arts; and free entry to the evening’s performance. The JAZZ ROOTS education program is made possible in part by Wells Fargo, the Green Family Foundation, Citizens Interested in Arts and The ASCAP Foundation.

June 21, 2016

Music Fills The Miami Air During The Summer

Ching-Yun Hu
Publisher's Note: Last week I had the pleasure of attending two events that marked the beginning of the 3rd annual Miami Music Festival. Both events were held on the Barry University campus, right in my own backyard. 

The first was an exhilarating piano faculty recital by Ching-Yun Hu. As I listened to the outstanding technical display of pieces by Rachmaninoff, Chopin and even George Gershwin in between, I thought this is such a great start and wonderful segment for a great music festival. If this, my first concert attendance for the Miami Music Festival was this good, the rest had to be equally brilliant.

Two days later I was back in attendance at Barry University for Zarzuela in the Summer Nights. Dedicated to pianist Sergio Puig, the scenes from the Zarzuela project were performed wonderfully by some of the international opera students in Miami for the festival. I believe I witnessed something very special that night. These young people were exceptional. I’m sure I saw some of the same performers who will someday grace the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House and more. There are so many more performances through the rest of the month of June and July. If you are in the area, I encourage you to choose a couple of events and enjoy the summer of music at the Miami Music Festival. 

Edward Reid

Miami Music Festival (MMF) is proud to announce its third season, with the expansion to eight-week programming, the introduction of the unprecedented Miami Wagner Institute, an orchestral tribute to celebrated violinist Ida Haendel, an increase to six full-scale opera productions, and the welcome of several renowned guest artist and faculty members through the months of June and July, 2016.

The announcement of a professional division with the Miami Wagner Institute heralded news of an elite, one of a kind, tuition free program for young professional dramatic singers led by program director and Metropolitan Opera soprano Christine Goerke. Launching July 5-16, 2016, the creation of the Miami Wagner Institute aims to provide much needed training and professional level performance opportunities for the unique demands of the dramatic Wagnerian singer.

The inaugural Wagner program culminates with a return to South Beach's premier venue, the New World Center, in an MMF gala concert featuring two of the world’s most in demand Wagnerians in excerpts from Die Walküre ; Christine Goerke, “Brünnhilde” in productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand and Washington National Opera, and international bass baritone Alan Held, “Wotan” in productions at the Canadian Opera Company and Washington National Opera. They will be joined by featured singers from the Wagner Institute, and the MMF Symphony Orchestra. MMF’s gala concert will also feature Strauss’ Suite from Der Rosenkavalier and excerpts from Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

This season, the MMF Opera Institute increases to six mainstage productions presenting classic stagings of Puccini’s La bohème and Gianni Schicchi , Britten’s The Turn of the Screw , and Robert Ward’s retelling of The Crucible in a provocative setting of social commentary. MMF also continues its popular Family Opera Series with family friendly productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in English, and Ravel’s whimsical L ’enfant et les sortilèges . The Studio Program will also undertake two lesser known chamber operas, Giordano’s Mese Mariano and Offenbach’s La chanson de Fortunio, marking two South Florida premieres.

In an opening July 9th concert, the MMF Symphony Orchestra kicks off their season with Mahler's Symphony No. 6. MMF then honors legendary international violinist Ida Haendel and her illustrious career as one of history’s great musicians in a “best of” festival concert on July 23rd. Winners of the MMF Concerto Competition will perform in honor of Ms. Haendel, which will also feature the M MF Symphony Orchestra in Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, as well as the MMF Piano Institute’s Concerto Competition winner.

The MMF Piano Institute welcomes a new team of artistic giants to the faculty including international soloists and pedagogues Yoheved Kaplinsky (Chair of Piano Department, Juilliard), Anton Nel, Di Wu, Ching Yun Hu and Alexandre Moutouzkine. These acclaimed teaching artists will conduct faculty recitals and master classes open to the public. The Piano Institute continues its annual Concerto Competition, while expanding to include collaborative training in chamber music and opera, along with a traditional solo curriculum focus.

MMF resumes its exceptional training as the Conducting Institute welcomes guest teaching artists to its faculty including Larry Rachleff and Nu Deco Ensemble’s Jacomo Bairos. The festival also resumes its pioneering Career Institute, instructing students in functional career skills to take charge of their artistic careers in an evolving economy through hands-on project development and essential entrepreneurial forums.

Following a successful monthly performance series in the Lobby Salon, The Betsy–South Beach and MMF present intimate summer chamber concerts every Tuesday and Thursday evening beginning June 9th, featuring the best and brightest performers across institutes; concerts are free and open to the public. Other event highlights of the 2016 Festival include solo and faculty recitals, concerts in chamber music, Zarzuela, Broadway and more.

A nationally recognized classical music festival primarily staged during Miami's summer "offseason," the Miami Music Festival has become an international destination for young artists preparing for the rigors of the professional music industry and a welcome addition to South Florida's blossoming cultural dynamic. With the 2015 festival praised as “a highly varied program at a skill level that... could have passed for professional” (South Florida Classical Review), and admired “for giving pre-professional artists a literal and metaphoric stage to sharpen their crafts” (Forbes Travel Guide), MMF's future growth is poised for even greater success.

Through their continuous and generous partnerships, the festival is proud to call Barry University its home campus and The Betsy South Beach its official hotel, with major concerts performed at both venues, along with the New World Center.

Miami Music Festival is made possible through partial grant funding and sponsorship including assistance from Miami Dade County, Culture Builds Florida, The Miami Foundation, and Citizens Interested in the Arts, The Plutzik Goldwasser Foundation, and Steinway Piano Gallery.

For a complete listing of artists, concerts and performance dates and locations visit the
Festival's website at .


The mission of the Miami Music Festival is to provide affordable, world class instruction and groundbreaking performance experience to the next generation of elite classical musicians while contributing to South Florida's artistic community in an impactful way.
Comprised of unique institutes–Orchestra, Opera, Piano, and Conducting–newly incorporated MMF training also includes a Professional Division incorporating the Miami
Wagner Institute, and a selective Career Institute. The festival gathers over 300 of the finest young talents from around the world to receive instruction and mentorship from an international array of 55 esteemed artist faculty. Founded in 2013, the Festival is a distinctive, exceptional new platform dedicated to identifying and developing the careers of the world’s most talented young professionals. For more information, please visit

May 21, 2016

Pain From Tallahassee to Music Stardom

Faheem Rashad Najm was born September 30, 1985, better known by his stage name T-Pain, he is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.  His stage name is short for "Tallahassee Pain", and was chosen because of the hardships he experienced while living there. At just three years old he got his first taste of the music business when a friend of the family, gospel jazz artist/producer Ben Tankard, allowed him to spend time and "twist the knobs" at his recording studio. At age ten, Najm turned his bedroom into a music studio, using a keyboard, a beat machine and a four-track recorder.T-Pain joined the rap group Nappy Headz in 2004 and later recorded "I'm F**ked Up", a cover version of Akon's single "Locked Up". Recording artist Akon heard the song and immediately signed T-Pain to Konvict Muzik, his label. After being discovered, T-Pain began singing instead of rapping. T-Pain subsequently recorded and released his debut album, Rappa Ternt Sanga, on December 6, 2005. The album reached number thirty-three on the Billboard 200, and has since been certified Gold by the RIAA, for reaching sales of 500,000 units.

In mid-2006, T-Pain began work on his second album, now with the Zomba Label Group as well as Konvict Muzik and Jive Records. The album, titled Epiphany, was released on June 5, 2007. The album sold 171,000 records in its first week, reaching number one on the Billboard 2007. The record has since sold 819,000 records in the United States.

The album was preceded by the lead single "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" featuring Yung Joc in February 2007. The single reached number one on both the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming his first single to top charts. The album's second single, "Bartender", featuring Akon was released in June 2007 and reached number five on the Hot 100 and number nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The third and final single from the album, "Church", was released in October 2007 but failed to chart in the United States.

In 2007, T-Pain began work on his third album with Rocco Valdes, Akon and Lil Wayne. The album was also his first under his Nappy Boy Entertainment.

T-Pain's third studio album, Thr33 Ringz, was released on November 11, 2008.The album sold 168,000 records in its first week, reaching number four on the Billboard 200. A mixtape, Pr33 Ringz, was released in early 2008 before the album.

The album was preceded by three singles. Its lead single, "Can't Believe It", featuring Lil Wayne, was released in July 2008. The single reached number seven on the Hot 100 and number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The album's second single, "Chopped 'N' Skrewed", featuring Ludacris, was released in September 2008. The single reached number twenty-seven on the Hot 100 and number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The third and final single from the album, "Freeze", featuring Chris Brown, was released in October 2008 and reached number thirty-eight on the Hot 100 and number thirty-nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Guest appearances on Thr33 Ringz included T.I., Lil Wayne, Ludacris, DJ Khaled, Ciara, Chris Brown and Kanye West among others. Pr33 Ringz was the introduction mixtape for the album.

In 2008, T-Pain continued to appear on numerous rap singles, such as "She Got It" by 2 Pistols, "Go Girl" by Ciara, "The Boss" by Rick Ross, "Cash Flow" by Ace Hood, "Shawty Get Loose" by Lil Mama, "One More Drink" by Ludacris, and "Go Hard" by DJ Khaled with Kanye West. T-Pain and Ludacris collaborated to perform "Chopped 'N' Skrewed" and "One More Drink" on American late-night television programs Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC in November 2008 and on NBC's Saturday Night Live in the same month. T-Pain appeared again on SNL in February 2009 (on the episode hosted by Bradley Cooper with musical guest TV on the Radio) in the SNL Digital Short. T-Pain also supported the album in 2009 with his Thr33 Ringz Tour, which included sold out shows across North America. T-Pain and rapper Lil Wayne formed the duo T-Wayne in 2008. The duo released a self-titled mixtape in late 2008; it charted on the Billboard 200 in January 2009. Their debut album was going to be released in 2009, but never was.

He collaborated with country pop singer Taylor Swift for the CMT Music Awards, and performed "Thug Story", a parody of Swift's hit single "Love Story". In an interview with MTV, T-Pain announced that he would release his fourth studio album in November 2009 and that its title was UBER. He stated that although he originally wanted to release the album in the summer of 2010, his label had pushed the release forward. Regardless of these announcements, the album wasn't released in 2009. An iPhone application called "I Am T-Pain" features an auto tuner, allowing fans to record and modify their own voice to accompany an instrumental collection of T-Pain's music. It was released in September 2009. In July 2009, T-Pain endorsed the 2009 T-Pain Killa Cam-Pain, a grassroots effort to help him become elected as president of Florida State University.

In November 2009, T-Pain released the first single from his fourth studio album, "Take Your Shirt Off". The single only managed to reach number eighty on the Hot 100, and was later dubbed a promotional single. Later, in February 2010, he released the official lead single from his fourth studio album, "Reverse Cowgirl", featuring Young Jeezy. He later release an updated version of the song excluding Young Jeezy's verse and adding a new bridge. The single reached number seventy-five on the Hot 100 and number sixty-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming a mild hit. The single has since been dubbed a promotional single. T-Pain was later featured on the "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" single in February 2010, which reached number two on the Hot 100. In the fall of 2009, T-Pain began work with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim to produce and star in a television animated musical special based on Freaknik. Freaknik: The Musical aired on March 7, 2010.

In June 2010, T-Pain confirmed that his fourth studio album RevolveR has been completed and mastered, but that it will not be released until album sales increase. He elaborated upon this in August 2010, stating that the album probably wouldn't be released until 2011. T-Pain's first feature film, Lottery Ticket, was released on August 20, 2010. In October 2010, T-Pain release his third promotional single, "Rap Song". The song charted poorly, peaking at 89 on the Hot 100.

With 60 hit songs under his belt and two Grammy trophies on his mantle, T-Pain has cemented himself as one of the most influential artists of all time. But even he needed a bit of time to himself to reload. After an eight year run of #1 hits, albums, tours and a plethora of cameo appearances, T-Pain found himself  living a life full of exactly what his name implies.

Upon releasing his 2011 album rEVOLVEr, the “Rappa Ternt Sanga” took an abrupt, but well-deserved, break from the spotlight. But it wasn’t to enjoy his spoils. His non-stop lifestyle was beginning to take a toll on his personal life and it was beginning to affect his creative “I was becoming somebody that I didn’t like,” he says. “I was living an unhappy lifestyle and it started affecting my family. I was hurting and scaring a lot of people.” At the height of his career that included a popular smartphone app and a Super Bowl commercial, T-Pain decided to take a two year hiatus from releasing music. Where that would be a death knell for other artists, it wound up being a second birth for T-Pain. In the fall of 2013 a rejuvenated T-Pain returned with one of his biggest hits to date, the DJ Mustard-produced single “Up Down (We Do This All Day)” featuring B.o.B. After returning to his familiar spot in the top ten of  the charts for 28 straight weeks and counting, he’s continuing the comeback in 2014 going with the club smash “Drankin Patna.”

His fifth album, Stoicville: The Phoenix is scheduled to follow and T-Pain promises that it he’s back to being the artist that he originally intended to be.“I want to be able to say that I put out an album that I believed in and that I liked,” he says. “Every song on the album is something that came out of my heart.” With this refreshed spirit, T-Pain is now spanning the globe on his “I Am T-Pain” tour with dates selling out in the United States, Europe, Australia and all points in between. Where fans will surely recognize the music and appreciate the new energy, they will also see the external changes T-Pain has made as well. He’s lost much of the weight he put on during his down time and he even shaved off his trademarked dreadlocks. “That was one of the hardest things to change about me,” he admits. “But I figured that if I could make that big of a change, everything else would change immediately, and it did.”

With many artists in the marketplace building successful careers borrowing from a sound that T-Pain helped create, it’s only right that he return to claim his throne. Only this time, don’t expect him to take another break, he’s going as hard as ever.

April 21, 2016

Clarence "Blowfly" Reid: Where It All Began

Clarence "Blowfly" Reid

Publisher’s note: I remember well during the mid to late 1980’s, as I began to work within the Miami music scene, I met many musicians who had enjoyed success. As I introduced myself, several would always ask if I was related to Clarence Reid. Easy assumption because we both shared the same last name, and we both were working in music. By that time though, Clarence “Blowfly” Reid had achieved legendary status not only in Miami but all around the world. He would easily be labeled a trail blazer for the new batch of X-rated rappers soon to burst upon the scene. We lost Blowfly earlier this year in death, but he will never be forgotten. I thought it was time to pay tribute to one of the most influential musicians from the state of Florida. For those of you who know little about “Blowfly”, take this opportunity to read his bio below.

Edward Reid

Before there was Kool Keith, Old Dirty Bastard or 2 Live Crew - before there was hip hop, for that matter - there was Blowfly, performing X-rated songs with a funky groove. Born 60 years ago in Cochran, Georgia, Miami's Clarence Reid has recorded more than 40 albums during his illustrious career. He got his nickname as a child when his grandmother, after hearing him sing dirty versions of then popular songs - like "Suck My D**k" for "Do The Twist" - proclaimed, "You is nastier than a blowfly."

In reality, there's a split personality involved in this man's music: there's Blowfly, the outrageously garbed creator of trash classics such as "Shittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and "Porno Freak," and then there's Clarence Reid, who has recorded more than a dozen "clean" albums over the years and penned songs for the likes of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Gwen McRae, Betty Wright, and Sam and Dave. Many people cite Blowfly as being the first rapper with his 1965 "Rap Dirty" record, which was re-recorded for disco giants T.K. Records after the smash success of Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Blowfly himself credits the "soul talking" Southern radio DJs of the '50s and '60s as the pioneers of rap, but he is without dispute the first rapper to have a song banned, after an Alabama record store was busted for peddling "Porno Freak." Blowfly was also sued by the President of ASCAP for his "What a Difference a Lay Makes." (The music publishing honcho also happened to be the composer of the popular "What a Difference a Day Makes.") Blowfly's sounds are a staple of modern-day hip hop. His music has been sampled by many rappers, including The Jurassic 5, (whose hit "Quality Control" is backed by the outro from Weird World Of Blowfly) Ice Cube, Atmosphere and Puff Daddy.

In 1991, Blowfly hooked up with Fishbone and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist/wild man Flea to record "Shake Your Thang" (clean) b/w "Shake Your Ass" (X-rated), both of which are included on the soundtrack of Blow's legendary film, The Twisted World of Blowfly. The resulting relationship led to a series of shows with Flea and the Fishbone at Club Lingerie in Hollywood, Ca and multiple "Nuttstalk" tours with Fishbone over the next decade. In 2003, Blowfly was interviewed by Miami-based journalist/drummer Tom Bowker for a cover story in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. When asked why he hadn't played a Miami area gig in 20 years, he replied "I don't have a band down here." To which Bowker replied "Want one?" Two months later, Blowfly's new band played Bowker's bachelor party and never looked back. In 2004, Bowker and his fellow bandmates -- keyboard player Mr. Lock (ex-everything for the Otis Redding progeny funk combo The Reddings), guitarist Chris Chavez and bassist Jon-Jon (now replaced by Rob Sherber) -- teamed up to record Fahrenheit 69, Blowfly's first album dedicated to new, original material since 1988's Blowfly for President. When word got out that Blowfly was recording a new record, guest artists lined up to get in on the freaky fun, including: Afroman (of "Because I Got High" fame) Slug (MC for Epitaph/Rhymesayers rap sensations Atmosphere), and Bay Area Electroclash freaks Gravy Train!!!! (Kill Rock Stars). After more having more flirtations than a Hollywood Starlet, Fahrenheit 69 was picked up by longtime fan and punk icon Jello Biafra and released to rave reviews on his Alternative Tentacles label in June 2005.

Since then, Blowfly has toured coast to coast in the US on his first headlining tour in decades, blowing the roof off of clubs and landing on festival bills with the likes of Har Mar Superstar, The Ravonettes, Dash Rip Rock, Rudy Ray Moore, Link Wray, Yo La Tengo, Kool Keith, Fatlip and RJD2 among others.

Over the years, Blowfly's seen a lot of his contemporaries fall by the way side. His survival can partially be credited to the fact that while Blowfly is totally whacked in the head, Reid is a God-fearing, Bible-carrying Christian. "I never drink, never smoke, and I never use drugs," confesses Reid. "I may go to hell, but it won't be for those things!"

March 21, 2016

Criteria Studios: Historic Hit Making in North Miami!

Criteria Recording Studio was established in 1958 as an outgrowth of founder Mack Emerman's hobby. Originally a trumpet player, Mack's jazz leanings led him to begin recording in his home and later on-site. Criteria was the first in the Southeast with monaural disc mastering and stereophonic recording in 1954. The purchase of the original building in '58 saw the beginnings of a business in earnest. The facility quickly became a haven for technology advancements. Multitrack recording saw it's birth with the advent of 3 track recording in 1958 followed by four track recording in 1966 both firsts in this part of the country. Our spiffy 8 channel console was the cutting edge of technology in 1964. The studio was also one of the first to utilize a live stereo chamber way back in 1966. We like to think that the traditions established back then continue today.

The original building housing Criteria was constructed in 1956. Purchased in 1958, acoustic modifications were completed and the history began. Since it was the only room at the time, there was no need for a studio designation. That however, was soon to change. In 1966 work was begun on the first building designed and constructed as a recording Studio from the ground up in the Southeast. Completed in January of 1967, this massive room comfortably held a 72 piece orchestra. Used extensively to record the early music for the Jackie Gleason Show, it has undergone a number of renovations since then. Its most recent being a dramatic 1990 overhaul featuring as its centerpiece completely restored vintage NEVE 8078. This room became Studio A, while the original studio became known as Studio B.

By the end of 1969 and 1970, both studios were booked around the clock and months in advance. With the monster success of projects including James Brown's "I Feel Good", Aretha Franklin's "Young, Gifted and Black", Derek & the Dominoes "Layla" and Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia" it was almost impossible to get in the doors. In early 1971 construction began on Criteria's third recording space: Studio C.

In early 1972 Studio C was completed. The next ten years were a succession of chart topping musical landmarks. From Eric Clapton's "461 Ocean Blvd.", (where Golden Beach's Mayor now lives) Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors", Black Sabbath's "Heaven & Hell" to the Bee Gee's "Saturday Night Fever". As with all of our rooms, Studio C's acoustics and equipment were modified as superior technology became available. The most recent renovation was completed in 1997. A complete control room overhaul was coupled with an incredible sounding new console: an API Legacy. just in case you were wondering; the muses are still there...

As the 1970's danced on and the platinum record count went up, history repeated itself. Despite the construction of Studio C, every room at Criteria had a waiting list. So we built Studio D. This recording space offered a warm intimate setting. The control room was dominated by a custom built automated MCI 532 console. Based on a long and beneficial relationship, Criteria and MCI founder Jeep Harned found themselves on top of the recording world. Introduced to Criteria by legendary producer/engineer Tom Dowd in the late 1960's, Harned's innovative designs helped Criteria stay at the forefront of technology. Equipment, like that console, custom designed to the demanding specifications of our clientele set a standard we try to live by today. In the early 1990's an SSL 6048 replaced the venerable MCI.

In 1979 the music business took a dive. The era of crazy record label spending was at an end. The days of "... here's a bag of money- call us when the record's done" were over. Massive studio closures occurred nationwide. Criteria endured, however there were some changes. The practice of staff engineers was abolished. Many went on to great things; among them were Don Gehman, Alex Sadkin, Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson. In addition, the space occupied by the original studio B was retired as a recording studio and converted into storage.

All bad things must come to an end; and so the recession eventually petered out. The 1980's saw a string of artists leading they way. Among them, Julio Iglesias, The Romantics, Bow Wow Wow, John Denver, Meatloaf, Peter Frampton, Bob Seger and Ted Nugent. With the business on the rise, 1981 saw the undertaking of Criteria's most ambitious expansion: Studio E. The addition to the existing structure included new offices, expansive private lounges and even a waterfall. Designed by John Storyk, Studio E incorporated Cuban tile, pecky cypress, stained glass and 27 foot peaked ceilings. Upon its opening, the control room featured a custom built massive 56 channel MCI console and twin 24 track machines. Once the studio was complete, Criteria's disc mastering facility was relocated to the new wing directly atop Studio E.

With the increasing sophistication of technology, 1984 saw Criteria take delivery of the first SSL in the state. It was installed into the still relatively new Studio E. Later the same year, it was joined by the first digital multitrack and two track (Mitsubishi) recorders. In 1998 the control room was completely gutted and redesigned by acoustician George Augspurger. Stay tuned for more news on that or give us a call if you can't wait...

With the rousing success our first SSL, a second was delivered in mid 1986. The space previously occupied by the Criteria Cutting Center was modified to accommodate the second console and opened as a mix suite. It became the new Studio B. As for the disc mastering room, it was reopened as Fuller Sound. Still located in the Criteria complex, longtime mastering engineer Mike Fuller purchased the company and promptly installed a NEVE DTC console. He put in other stuff too, but that's his story...

Eight years later, our clientele began hinting in no uncertain terms that forty-eight channels for a world class mix room was inadequate. Studio B, (that's the new one remember) underwent a complete redesign under the watchful eye of George Augspurger. The result houses a Solid State Logic 4096G plus. And if our clients ever decide to leave it empty for a day or two you're welcome to come work there.

So there you have it.

Trevor Fletcher
Studio Manager

February 21, 2016

2016 Tortuga Music Festival in Ft Lauderdale

Blake Shelton

Huka Entertainment is pleased to announce Rock The Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival, now a three-day event, has added even more amazing performers to its already stellar music line-up. Joining country superstar headliners Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley will be: Billboard’s Top New Country Artist of 2015 and rising star Kelsea Ballerini, innovators of deep southern soul St. Paul & the Broken Bones, high-energy, straight country honky-tonker Jon Pardi, Kristian Bush, whose debut solo album was dubbed by Country Weekly as the "feel-good album of the year" and the beautiful duo Muddy Magnolias who Elle Magazine described as a “country, soul, and R&B cocktail that's heavy on harmony and candid, occasionally gritty, lyrics.” The fourth annual festival returns to the sands of Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in Florida on April 15th, 16th and 17th. Fans will enjoy a one-of-a-kind Tortuga experience at our oceanfront event, including sun, friends, songs, and sand as well as an exclusive viewing deck with a pool for VIP attendees.

Also joining the headliners in the initial wave of performers announced are: genrebending multi-platinum star Sam Hunt, “Die A Happy Man” hit-maker Thomas Rhett, country chart-topper Billy Currington, raucous country-rocker Kip Moore, legendary rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, funk and soul fusion band Michael Franti & Spearhead, powerhouse vocalist Randy Houser, “Freaks Like Me” crooner Joe Nichols, “Buy Me A Boat” dynamic live performer Chris Janson, “Smoke” supergroup A Thousand Horses, Florida native southern rock swamp band JJ Grey & Mofro, “Ex’s and Oh’s” blues pop-sensation Elle King, iHeartRadio personality Bobby Bones and his comedy band the Raging Idiots, “Little Bit Of You” singer Chase Bryant, country quintet Old Dominion and “Burning House” songbird Cam. Tortuga brings the best emerging artists as well and this year is no exception with: LANco, Waterloo Revival, Native Run, Walker County, Tucker Beathard, Old Southern Moonshine Revival, Ryan Hurd, Courtney Cole, and Drew Baldridge.

Regular priced festival tickets are now available, with three-day General Admission at $199 and VIP at $899. Complete festival pricing can also now be found at 

Tim Mcgraw
Last year’s sold-out festival drew a record-breaking attendance of more than 75,000 music fans from all over the world. Proceeds from Tortuga Music Festival ticket sales have contributed more than $250,000 toward marine and ocean research and conservation organizations to date.

Produced and promoted by HUKA Entertainment, Tortuga Music Festival features the hottest artists in country, rock and roots music as well as Rock The Ocean’s Conversation Village, which hosts more than a dozen organizations dedicated to marine research and conservation. The event serves to celebrate the festival’s ocean side setting while raising awareness of issues impacting the world’s oceans and supporting marine research and conservation, as well as protection of the festival’s namesake – sea turtles that nest annually along South Florida’s Atlantic seaboard.

For additional information, and to sign up to be the first to receive updates, including lineup announcements, ticket on sales, special offers and more, visit Tortuga Music Festival on the following platforms:


Twitter: @FestivalTortuga