Aretha Franklin has canceled her March concert dates in Florida which includes the City of Miami Gardens’ 11th Annual Jazz in the Gardens (JITG) music festival and Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall due to lack of band personnel. Charlie Wilson will now headline Jazz in the Gardens on Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Eleven-time Grammy nominee, Charlie Wilson has been heralded as a “showman extraordinare” who is selling out arenas and venues around the country. And now he can add Best Selling author to his list of credits. His memoir, “I Am Charlie Wilson,” released in June 2015, is a New York Times Best Seller and Washington Post Best Seller as well as receiving a honorary mention for non-fiction from the Black Caucus of American Library Associations, Inc. He recently performed in Charleston, SC at a Get Out The Vote Rally and introduced presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The full JITG lineup includes Usher, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Janelle Monae, Brian Culbertson, Michael McDonald, Kool and The Gang, Fred Hammond, The Average White Band, and The Jazz in the Gardens All-Stars featuring Regina Belle, Najee & Alex Bugnon, along with local artists Ronnie VOP, CriStyle Renae, April Raquel and Kouture Band, and LaVie. Returning to the stage as host is comedian and nationally-syndicated radio personality Rickey Smiley.
Last year’s 10th Annual JITG broke box office records with more than 73,000 people attending. Approximately 42,000 festival-goers attended Saturday’s show, the first sold-out day in the history of the event. Fans from all across the nation and abroad enjoyed performances from Maxwell, Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, Toni Braxton, Run D.M.C., and Brian Culbertson, just to name a few. Comedians and nationally-syndicated radio personalities D.L. Hughley and Rickey Smiley co-hosted the festival. Last year’s JITG event also drew surprise celebrities including actors Bryshere Y. Gray and Jussie Smollett, who star as Hakeem and Jamal, respectively, on the red-hot, Fox television series “Empire.”
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