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Miami’s venerable M Ensemble is a company that sometimes dips into its rich history to mount fresh productions of past shows. For its second production in its versatile new home at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, the troupe is revisiting Darren Canady’s “Brothers of the Dust.” Winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, the ..

“El cuento de Rene,” actor and director Larry Villanueva’s adaptation of Cuban writer Rene Ariza’s short stories into a work of theater, is more than an homage. It’s a statement on oppression. Ariza was sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to send manuscripts abroad. He was banned from creating theater in Cuba and condemned as “counter-revolutionary.” Ariza served five years of h..

Those who attend film festivals aren't looking for the mainstream, Cineplex offerings. That isn't the goal. Amid the indie films, the foreign entries, documentaries, and the world premieres, there's another reason to canvass the program for something you might not see anywhere else. Given the Miami Film Festival is the only major film festival to be produced by a college or university..

{This interview was conducted before the film making team went on to amazing Oscar success.} Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and filmmaker Barry Jenkins are nine miles away from the Liberty City housing projects where they both grew up, but they are worlds away. They are at the picturesque Standard Hotel to talk about the new movie "Moonlight," with a screenplay by Jenkins base..

First things first. Actor-playwright Elena María García does explain the meaning of “¡FUÁCATA!” somewhere deep into the 90-minute running time of Zoetic Stage’s “García Or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe.” The familiar Cuban term, she confides from her perch on Michael McKeever’s Mondrian-evocative set, suggests the sound of a slap. As in, “¡Fuácata! You really stepped in i..

Sales of George Orwell’s chilling dystopian novel “1984” have soared during the early days of the Trump administration, the headlines pouring out of Washington having repositioned a 1949 literary classic as a 21st century cautionary tale. The late Czech president and playwright Václav Havel brought his deeply observed, hard-earned perspective on life under totalitarianism to the stage..

“Carousel,” which contains some of the most gorgeous and memorable songs ever written for a musical, may be a musical you’ve never seen, though it has been around since 1945. The follow-up to “Oklahoma!,” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s hugely successful debut as a composer-lyricist team, “Carousel” requires a huge cast by today’s standards, an orchestra that can do that gl..

Before women like movie star Melissa McCarthy, Chrissy Metz of NBC’s “This Is Us” and Whitney Thore of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” became widely embraced personalities, Josefina Lopez wrote a play titled “Real Women Have Curves.” Lopez’s 1994 comedy, made into a 2002 movie that marked America Ferrera’s film debut, is about many things. Its subjects include the fears of undocument..

Stephen Adly Guirgis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his darkly comic “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Two years later, as GableStage’s sizzling new production so abundantly demonstrates, the play feels completely of the moment – in part because its characters traffic in “alternative facts.” Retired New York cop Walter “Pops” Washington (Leo Finnie) refuses to settle an eight-..

Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat was an influential visionary whose pointillist work launched a movement before his untimely death in Paris in 1891 at the age of 31. He spent two years painting his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” in which tiny dots of juxtaposed color viewed at the right distance transform into a host of Parisians relaxing on an island ..

Miami choreographer Augusto Soledade has been a fixture in the local dance world since he arrived here in 2004. His cast has shifted over the years and he continues to challenge himself artis..

In one duet, two dancers use their bodies as counterweights, springing forth from each other’s bodies with explosive power. In another, dancers form a sharp line before torsos undulate and fa..

Teacher, choreographer and activist Dale Andree is known for her ability to merge activism with dance. Andree founded and directs National Water Dance, a site-specific project that joins danc..

In 2016, Philadelphia-based Koresh Dance company crossed their 25-year mark. To celebrate, the company returns to Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts with a 25th anniversary..

From singers like Joan Baez to poets like Maya Angelou to anonymous knitters of pink pussy hats, creative women have played an essential role in this country as agitators and activists. Likew..

When Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) takes the stage this weekend, it will present a program rich in the cultural milieu of Miami. Co-founders Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra i..

It is an awe-inspiring experience to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers perform. They are well trained dancers, athletes and artists. Not often known is that some of the dance..

Back for an 8th season in Miami, the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater packs the house every year. With Liberty City hometown hero Robert Battle in his fifth year, we have many rea..

Awash in sunlight, around 50 women stand in a circle on the rooftop performance space of Casa Gaia in Old Havana, Cuba, as part of a belly-dance festival. Biodanza facilitator Karen Rodríguez..

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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