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Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..

One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..

Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..

If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..

Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Great friendships can nurture and prod an artist to make greater work. Think Pablo Picasso and Wifredo Lam, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Such is also the case fo..

It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..

It was only a few decades ago that finding a professional, locally produced performance was an aerobic dance in itself. But after the Miami City Ballet (established 1985), the New World Schoo..

A 50th anniversary calls for gold in celebration. But Balanchine’s “Jewels”­—a sublime marriage of music and choreography from 1967—brings Emeralds, Rubies,and Diamonds. Those pre..

When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..

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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