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Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..

Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For some, that might mean taking a second or third job. Or robbing a bank. Or moving in with family. For Casey, a straight lip-syncing Elvis impersonator in a Panama City bar, desperation means forsaking the King’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit for leg hair-hiding pantyhose, fake boobs and big-hair wigs, the better to sell himself as a fa..

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Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..

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The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..

Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..

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After 17 years as a principal dancer with the esteemed San Francisco Ballet, dancing every major role and style possible, Lorena Feijoo is retiring from that company to embark on a new journe..

Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick is a storyteller. Her company Alma Dance Theater brings a particularly female inner world to the stage, through lush and sensual choreography. Nick’s..

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May’s “Mujeres” series of strong, multi-faceted, women-focused productions, commissioned for Miami Theater Center’s SandBox space, concludes with Spanish-born dancer-choreographer Carlota Pr..

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The process of creating “Shade,” choreographer Augusto Soledade’s latest full-length work, has been one of remembering and reconfiguring memory to discover new ways of talking about identity ..

Upcoming this week, Tigertail presents choreographer Myriam Gourfink and musician Kasper Toeplitz. Hailing from France, the two will be present for a 3-day residency at Subtropics’ South Beac..

From her home base at 6th Street Dance Studio in Little Havana, longtime Miami dance figure Brigid Baker has been slowly crafting a new performance piece. It’s not conceptual or political like con..

Saxophonist Troy Roberts: Living the Dream

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Written by: Tracy Fields
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Seduced by the jazz in his dad’s music collection, a kid from Perth, Western Australia, takes up the saxophone at age 13. He grows up, moves to the United States and becomes a star. Dreams do come true: a number of them in the case of Troy Roberts, one of the featured artists at this year’s Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival.

He’s performed with the likes of Sammy Figueroa, Christian McBride and Aretha Franklin and appeared at International Jazz Day events with Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter and the legendary Wayne Shorter. He’s released seven albums as a leader – the latest, “Tales & Tones,” is zooming up the charts – and appeared as a sideman on more than two dozen others, one of which earned a Grammy nomination.

After several years as a student and educator at the University of Miami, Roberts now resides in New York. Since heading north, he’s recorded with such notables as drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts and Orrin Evans, a pianist. He’s part of a new ensemble formed by organist Joey DeFrancesco; their debut recording, Project Freedom, also is swiftly climbing the charts.

So what’s it like living the dream(s)? “It’s overwhelming. It also snuck up on me,” he says, explaining that life as a musician based in the jazz capital of the world keeps him constantly busy, playing different kinds of gigs in different places, always consumed by the music – until he has a rare moment between tours and performances and recordings to catch his breath.

“That’s when it hits you,” he says. “and now it’s like, whoa, that just happened.”

Roberts, who grew up listening to DeFrancesco, is excited about his work with the organist. “I finally have a chance to tap into a part of my musical background,” notably the work of saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and organist Jimmy Smith. The music, he says, is “stylistically really vast, really kind of pretty involved compositions but also really accessible.”

Another peak experience was recording “Tales & Tones” with Watts and the bassist Robert Hurst; Roberts said that as a kid, he had dreamed of playing with them. Roberts’ pleasure is evident as he talks about making the album, which he called “probably the most straight-ahead album I’ve ever done.” But he said he’s so busy this year with other people’s projects he doesn’t have time to go on tour to support it.

However, he plans to get back to work on his Nu Jive project, which produced two of his albums and features South Florida-based artists David Chiverton, Eric England, Tim Jago and Silvano Monasterios, who has now also moved to New York. “That’s something I’ve kind of not had the time to put into, but I also recognize that that’s how Tain and Joey D heard about me,” he says. “I think I need to take a little more care of it again.”

He looks forward to his first appearance at the Melton Mustafa Festival, founded by the South Florida trumpet legend and now in its 20th year.

“Melton’s a really important part of the Miami jazz scene and I’m really honored to be there,” he says. “He’s such a great musician in so many ways, I think he needs to be more recognized.”

Troy Roberts is among the featured artists at the Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival, Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26, the Lyric Theater, 819 NW 2nd Ave., Overtown. In addition to Sunday’s culminating concert, the event features workshops and master classes, an evening of art, authors and film, and other performances. Tickets range from $10 to $100; Sunday’s show starts at $50; www.eventbrite.com/e/20th-annual-melton-mustafa-jazz-festival-weekend-february-24-25-26-2017-tickets-30812504029.

 


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About The writer

Tracy Fields is a reporter, writer and host of Evenin' Jazz

A member of the South Florida media for more than two decades, Tracy Fields has been a reporter/editor for The Associated Press and a freelance wordsm..

About the Writer

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