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The Betsy's 10th Annual Overture To Overtown Jazz Festival

April 1 to May 1, 2022

"Jazz speaks for life … This is triumphant music. … and now it is imported to the world."
Martin Luther King, Berlin Jazz Festival, 1964 

The Betsy’s Annual ‘Overture to Overtown’ (OTO) Jazz Festival celebrates the historic connections between South Florida jazz and the National historic jazz circuit which brought musicians who played in NYC’s Harlem to The Harlem of the South (AKA Overtown) as they made their way from club to club – across the USA.  In Overtown’s heyday — and on Miami Beach — stars like Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker performed the same jazz standards that are performed nightly at The Betsy and will be performed live at this year’s Overture to Overtown (OTO) Festival. Historic figures like Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes, and Muhammed Ali also frequented Overtown, and were champions of its cultural legacy.     

The Betsy’s 10th Annual ‘Overture to Overtown’ Jazz Festival takes place in tandem with National Jazz Appreciation Month, created by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz, which also includes special celebration of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day. The Betsy’s 2022 Festival features 31 days of jazz, involving 40 performing artists. Nine performances weekly will be presented in The Betsy’s Lobby Salon, with additional Sunday evening concerts, presented on the Ocean Drive Promenade in partnership with the Ocean Drive Association and the City of Miami Beach.  

The Betsy’s 10th Annual Overture to Overtown Jazz Festival is co-produced by Carole Ann Taylor and Deborah Plutzik Briggs; Rosie Gordon Wallace will curate public art and community conversations. 
See community partners and advisory committee members below.

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Duke Ellington sits at piano surrounded by other performers

History

During its heyday, the City of Overtown was often referred to as ‘the Harlem of the South’, because its story is akin to that of New York’s Harlem – and on the National Jazz circuit, musicians often played in both Harlems, as they made their way from one club to another, playing for audiences around the country.  

And in Overtown, stars like Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, and Josephine Baker not only performed, but also spent the night because of segregation laws in Miami and Miami Beach. Unable to stay the night after a gig, they went “over town” to hotels owned by Black proprietors.

The talents of so many cultural ‘greats’ fostered such world-class entertainment venues in Overtown as the Lyric Theater, Knight Beat, and other clubs. Over the years, distinguished African American intellectuals also stayed there, including W.E.B. Du Bois, author Zora Neale Hurston, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Martin Luther King and Malcom X frequented the area and so did Muhammed Ali.

 

For more information on Overtown: Past, Present, and Future, visit The Betsy Hotel's Zen and the Art of Overtown.

Performers

man in black tuxedo with white shirt in front on black background.

Danny Mixon

Special Musical Guest

Danny Mixon is known worldwide as a piano jazz virtuoso. He has worked with such legendary performers as Lionel Hampton, Joe Williams, and Frank Foster and continues to be in Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band and his Non-Electric Company. He has also performed, toured and/or recorded with Yusef Lateef, Hank Crawford, Savion Glover, Pharoah Sanders, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Eubie Blake, Noel Pointer, Jimmy Witherspoon, Grant Green, Eddie Jefferson, Charles McPherson, Marlena Shaw, Irene Reid, Houston Person, Dakota Staton, Ben Vereen, Leon Tomas, Chaka Khan, Cassandra Wilson, Lou Rawls, Gloria Lynne, Lisle Atkinson, Oscar Brown, Jr., John Hendricks, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Earl May, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Kenny Dorham and many others. 

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Aaron Burnett

Saxophone

 2020 Grammy winning Producer / saxophonist / composer / educator Aaron Burnett has performed with many renowned musicians such as Vijay Iyer, Teri Lyne Carrington, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Michelle Rosewoman, Jeff Tain Watts, and Kim Thompson, and toured with three-time Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding. Burnett remains true to the nature of jazz in his music and his playing, always searching for new ways of interpreting the music while remaining modern and consistent with the times we live in.  @AaronBurnettSax

Overtown

Allen C. Paul

Piano

Paul’s early years were filled with discoveries of jazz, blues, funk, gospel – all kinds of musical puzzle pieces that would begin to weave their way into his playing. He capped off this start by winning the Florida State Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition at age 17 and performing with the Tampa Bay Symphony. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Music in Jazz Piano, he currently performs, writes and teaches privately in South Florida - and is both a sought after soloist and side man for the best and brightest jazz musicians in the region. @AllenPaulMusic

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Angel Perez

Piano

Angel Perez is a Miami-born musician, with a jazz degree from Frost School of Music from University of Miami. Angel has performed widely, having started his studies at the SOBE School for the Arts on Miami Beach, in arenas including The Essentially Ellington Competition, Miami Downtown jazz festival, and Okeechobee Music Festival. Angel believes in the power of music to change lives - and is currently in a graduate program at UM pursuing credentials in Music Therapy.

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Beau Cornelius

Piano

Beau Matthew Cornelius is a jazz pianist, producer, and teacher based out of Miami and Los Angeles who graduated from USC in 2020 with a Masters in Jazz Studies, just completed a gig with the prestigious All American College Band at Disney, and is currently pursuing a DMA in Jazz at University of Miami Frost School of Music.  @beaunelius

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Brian Murphy

Piano

Brian M. Murphy has enjoyed an esteemed career as a multi-genre pianist, arranger, conductor, and producer - and has been associated with artists as diverse as Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Albert Collins, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Kevin Mahogany, Tom Scott, Jack Jones, Bernadette Peters, Julie Budd, Nigel Kennedy, Caroline Rocher, The Diamonds, Hal Linden, Regis Philbin, Susan Lucci and many others.   @miamijazzcooperative

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Carole-Ann Taylor

Co-Creator & Vocals

(and OTO Co-Producer)  In music, a singer's personality often forms the way they perform. Jazz singer Carole Ann Taylor is known for her charming and uplifting stage presence. She’s a driving force with an easy way - reflective of jazz’s improvisatory freedom. Taylor is the co-producer of the 2022 Overture to Overtown Festival.  @miamitogo

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Chad Bernstein

Trombone

Chad Bernstein is an acclaimed trombonist, multi-instrumentalist and recording artist with specialities in Latin, jazz, and funk.  He is also the founder and director of Guitars over Guns, one of the Nation’s leading arts-in-education programs. He is widely regarded as an Innovator, advocate and speaker passionate about arts-driven, community-oriented solutions to pressing global challenges. Chad holds a doctorate in jazz from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. @cbmusic

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Cindy Ellis

Vocals

Cindy Ellis is a Cuban-American vocalist has performed with and conducted ensembles in a variety of venues including Carnegie Hall, the Adrienne Arsht Center, New World Symphony Hall, Guzman Center, and Kennedy Center. As a jazz artist, she is frequently featured in venues throughout South Florida and is a regular in the Betsy Hotel’s Mostly Jazz performance series. @cindyellis

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David Attelan

Piano

David Attelan is a music composer, arranger and producer. Brand partners include Renault, L'Oréal, La  Fnac, EMI, Sony BMG, Eric Toledano and Olivier  Nakache (Tellement Proches), Alexandre Arcady (Mariage  Mixte) Diane Kurys (L'Anniversaire) Stéphane  Guenin (L'Engagement - Killing Uncle Roman), Philippe Poulard (Warcraft), TF1, France TV,  M6, W9, MTV, ARTE. He performed for ten years throughout Europe as conductor and musical director of the dance and song company ADAMA. @davidspianosound

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Devin Shaw

Keyboard

Devin SHAW graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 12, he began his classical music training at the Merit School of Music and has studied jazz with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the 8th Ravinia Jazz Scholars. In 2019, 2020, and 2021. Devin is a member of the STAMPS JAZZ QUINTET  at the Frost School of Music at The University of Miami; he’ll receive a Bachelors of Music  in 2025. 

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Edgar Pantoja

Piano

Edgar Pantoja's music combines Cuban roots sources of rumba, son, and timba with international rhythms of samba, Moroccan Gnawa, jazz and funk. Born in Santiago de Cuba, Pantoja has collaborated with Rubén Blades, David Murray, and Angelique Kidjo and Pedrito Martinez. Pantoja graduated from the Conservatorio Esteban Salas and the Conservatorio Jose Maria Ochoa, in Cuba. @edgarpantojamusic

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Envee

Vocals

Envee is Cuban born, Miami-raised, and profoundly vintage, with diverse influences ranging from Celia Cruz to Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Luciano Pavarotti. Envee has been an active member in South Florida LGBTQA community events including multiple appearances at The Betsy Hotel for Celebrate Orgullo in partnership with Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida. Recently Envee appeared on Telemundo’s Yo Soy El Artista, where she was a ‘Top 6’ winner. Envee will be returning to South Beach as part of The Betsy’s Jazz Artist in Residence program, in Spring 2022. @Envee77

Overtown

Jim Gasior

Piano

Jim Gasior has performed with Ricky Martin, Kelly  Clarkson, Alih Jey, Chayanne, Little Richard, Michael  Bolton, Jose Feliciano, Smokey Robinson, Benny  Golson, Slide Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, Terell  Stafford, Patti Austin, John Fedchock, Duffy Jackson,   Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Robin Eubanks,  Jeremy Pelt, Jay Leonhart and the Jaco Pastorius  Reunion Big Band. Jim holds a Bachelor’s degree in  Studio Music and Jazz Performance, a Master’s  degree in Jazz Pedagogy - both from University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where he is  in the final stages of his Doctorate in Jazz.

Konrad

Konrad Paszkudzki

Piano

Raised in Western Australia by Polish parents, Konrad relocated to the United States in 2009, receiving his master’s degree from the University of Miami. In the next few years, as part of the John Pizzarelli Quartet he racked up over 1000 performances, worldwide. Konrad is music director at Jazz at the Ballroom and in 2016 became a Yamaha artist. Wynton Marsalis said, “Konrad has a pearly touch, a sense of history, a sense of drama, a love of the blues, and an elegance which is borne of high minded dedication.” @drkonniep

Overtown

LaVie

Vocals

Charline Fleureon, La Vie’s given name, realized her musical gifts at an early age and began pursuing a music career at 17. In collaboration with producer/musician Stephane Murphy she wrote original music and in 2009 released her first album, Life Music. She has since written and released Alive and Human and travelled with the Maestro east coast tour throughout the USA and has performed with many national and international recording artists, such as Martha Munizzi, Nigel Lewis, Papa San, and Joe Pace. LaVie uses her music to encourage and empower all people who seek out and experience La Vie (The Life) that God intends for us all.  @LaVieMusic

Leesa

Leesa Richards

Vocals

Leesa Richards is a Detroit native, who now calls Miami home. She began her performing career as a professional dancer. Her performance as Mary Magdalene in the national tour of the Broadway musical, Jesus Christ Superstar earned critical acclaim and led to featured performances in several musical productions throughout the U.S. and Europe. A versatile performer, Leesa has performed with artists who include Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Oleta Adams, Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada and Joe Bonamassa and Barry Gibb. She has recorded with Barbra Streisand and Lenny Kravitz. @LeesaRichards

Vocals

LeNard Rutledge

Vocals

LeNard Rutledge, born and raised in Miami, is often compared to the legendary Lou Rawls. LeNard grew up in the historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Overtown and began his musical career as a drummer, playing in the marching band at Miami Central Senior High. While attending Saint Augustine College in North Carolina he started singing in local clubs and began his vocal career in 1997 performing with the Melton Mustafa Orchestra.  He was named The Miami New Times Best Jazz Artist in 2006 and is currently recording new songs across several musical genres. @rutvoice

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Leonard Reina

Piano

Leonard Reina is a graduate of the University of Miami and has been active internationally as a pianist-composer for over a decade. The multi-faceted pianist, composer, and producer has drawn energy and inspiration from a myriad of sources. Whether breathing new life into the works of the classical greats or giving his musical dexterity free rein within the sphere of jazz improvisation, he is a daring instrumentalist who welcomes the challenges born out of turning preconceived notions on their head as well as the rewards to be had when taking on worthy risks. @leonardreina

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Leonor Anthony

Visual Artivist

Leonor’s work appropriates and expands on the iconic jazz photography of Roberto Pollilo; their collaboration creates a ‘sense of hope’ in a world that may seem hopeless, with Jazz as the medium that gives a ‘voice’ to that sense of hope. SOUNDS of FREEDOM- consisting of archival images and original sculpture is on exhibition at The Betsy in the Boardroom Gallery until April 30, 2022, with a closing reception planned for April 21, from 7 to 9 PM. @leonoranthonyartist

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Linda Alvarado Stermer

Vocals

Linda holds a Master's in vocal jazz performance from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and a Bachelor of Music in jazz studies from Western Michigan University. Since the start of her career, she has shared the stage with vocalists Becca Stevens, Cyrille Aimee, Sara Gazarek, Kate McGarry, Peter Eldridge, the Real Group, and the New York Voices. She has also sung with recording artists Ben Folds, Nathan Pacheco and Jon Secada. 

Woman

Magela Herrera

Flute and Vocals

Cuban born flutist, vocalist, composer and recording artist, Magela Herrera grew up between two worlds: one, her family’s deep ties to a large set of unique traditions influenced mostly by Afro-Cuban music; the other, the years she spent learning and studying classical music at the Conservatory of Music in her native Havana. Herrera has shared the stage with Chucho Valdez (Cuba), Jan Eggum (Norway), Oslo Chamber Orchestra (Norway), and Sanskriti Shrestha (Nepal). @mgelaherrera

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Marc Irwin

Piano

As a pianist, composer, arranger, and recording artist, Dr. Marc Irwin uses his diverse talents as a musician within the fields of contemporary, jazz, classical, and world music. He plays often with his own signature quartet and has spent decades in the New York theatre and cabaret scene as performer, accompanist and musical director. Marc’s doctorate in Music Composition and Theory from Peabody Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. @marcirwinmusic

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Markus Gottschlich

Piano

Markus Gottschlich is an Austrian jazz pianist, composer and Steinway Artist whose recently released third album, Found Sounds, received critical international acclaim. Markus’ music reflects a unique blend of “old world”  and “new world”.  In his captivating live performances, his lyricism and technique contribute to his highly-individual sound. @markusgottschlich

Overtown

Melton Mustafa Jr.

Saxophone

Melton Mustafa Jr. is a saxophone player extraordinaire, arranger / composer, producer, and educator. Melton has performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Bobby Watson, Jaco Pastorius, George Cables, John Hicks, Charlie Mingus Dynasty, and Gunter Schuller, among others. @meltonmustafajazzfestival

NIcky

Nicky Orta

Bass

Nicky Orta has toured and/or recorded with various artists in the jazz and Latin pop genres including Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, Cristian Castro, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, Paquito D'Rivera, Sammy Figueroa, Othello Molineaux, and many others. Performing on electric bass for over 40 years, Orta has recorded and toured with some of the finest artists in the music industry and is also a highly respected music coach and educator. 

Woman

Nicole Henry

Vocals

Since her debut in 2004, jazz powerhouse Nicole Henry has earned a Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance," and 4 Top 10 U.S. Billboard, Jazz Week & HMV Japan jazz albums. In late 2021, she released her 8th CD that reached #4 on U.S. jazz charts. The New York Times raved, “I had the sense of being in the presence of a pop-soul superwoman.” @nicolehenrymusic

Overtown

Nicole Yarling

Vocals and Violin

Nicole is a rich velvet voice with technical skill and personality to boot! She is a star in the jazz community who, like many others, has been at it for years. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, a musical household laid the groundwork for Nicole's career. She is an Assistant Professor of Music at Florida Memorial University and a lecturer at Frost School of Music, a protégé of the late Joe Williams, and she is also a gifted violinist, educator and mentor to countless admirers. @knickee1

Ryan

Ryan Ellis

Piano

Ryan Ellis received his BMusic  from the University of Miami in 2000. As a  professional jazz pianist, Mr. Ellis has worked  extensively in the Caribbean, Florida and Hawaii  performing pop and jazz with many great  musicians, most notably: Eddie Jones, Bobby  Dukoff, Paul Brown, Leon Foster Thomas, Bobby  Ramirez, and Ira Sullivan. Mr. Ellis received his  Master’s Degree in Music from Florida  International University on a fellowship from the Johnny Mercer Foundation. @ryanellis

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Tal Cohen

Piano

Tal Cohen is a Grammy award winning jazz pianist and the recipient of the prestigious Freedman Fellowship. He has played with Terence Blanchard, Greg Osby, Ignacio Berroa, Joe Lovano and others. His most recent album- "Gentle Giants"  has received international acclaim and gained him many reviews including a 4 star review from the historic Downbeat Magazine. @talcohenjazz

Wendy

Wendy Pedersen

Vocals

A graduate of the University of Miami's Studio Music and Jazz Vocal program, Pedersen was raised on a musical diet of Elton John and the Beatles. But while in school, she found jazz and has immersed herself in its beat ever since. Pedersen's charismatic style has led to her being voted Best Female Rock Artist by Miami New Times, as well as the Pace/Southern Bell Jazz Artist of the Year.  She is a regular on the Miami jazz [email protected]

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Zach Bartholomew

Piano

Zach Bartholomew is an award-winning jazz pianist, composer, and music educator. In 2018, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Soon after, he became a professor at Broward College and Miami Dade College. In 2019, he joined the music faculty at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, and in 2021, he accepted a full time position at Florida Memorial University. @ZachBartholomewMusic

Reserve your seats!

Live music with a side of dinner or brunch - and a guaranteed table. 
Make your reservations for LT Steak & Seafood below.

Advisory Committee – 2022 Festival

Dr. Dorothy Fields, Founder, Public Historian, Certified Archivist and Board Member, Black Archive History Lyric Theater;
Ms. Connie Kinnard, VP Multicultural Tourism and Development, GMCVB;
Ms. Lisette Arrongante, Director of Tourism and Culture, City of Miami Beach;
Mr. Glendon Hall, Chair, Black Affairs Advisory Committee, City of Miami Beach;
Ms. Ceci Velasco, Executive Director, Ocean Drive Association,
Ms. Carole Ann Taylor, Founder and CEO, Miamitogo;
Dr. Valerie Patterson, Director, African Diaspora Studies, Florida International University;
Ms. Rosie Gordon Wallace, Founder and CEO, Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator;
Ms. Nina Gale Olson,  Culture Worker and External Relations Consultant (NYC),
Mr. Kunya Rowley, founder and director of Hued Songs;
Dr. John Stuart, Distinguished Professor & Executive Director FIU MANA and FIU MBUS 
Dr. Deborah Plutzik Briggs, VP, Arts and Community at The Betsy  

Community Partners - 2022 Festival

The Betsy Hotel, Plutzik Goldwasser Family Foundation, The Betsy Community Fund at the Miami Foundation

WDNA Jazz Radio, Florida International University Miami Beach Urban Studios, Florida Grand Opera, Miami Beach Classical Music Festival, Hued Songs, Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, Steinway & Sons, Miami Arts Studio-Zelda Glazer and Miami Dade County Public Schools Performing Arts, Inspicio Arts @ FIU, the Greater Miami and the Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Ocean Drive Association,
and the City of Miami Beach.