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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: ..

After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..

Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..

Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..

Even before the election that transformed billionaire reality TV star Donald J. Trump into the 45th president of the United States, playwright Robert Schenkkan was so disturbed by the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that he decided to respond. Not with a Tweet. Not with an opinion-page essay. The Pulitzer Prize winner spoke back to candidate Trump with a full-length play. “Building..

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Rafael Nofal’s play “El tiempo de la mandarinas” (“Season for Tangerines”) tackles the very relevant and disturbing theme of human trafficking. Produced by Antiheroes Project, this moving play is in its last week at Artefactus Teatro, a well-purposed black box and gallery space in a smattering of warehouses in Kendall. Nofal’s text removes overt violence and male characters fr..

Joshua Harmon’s savagely funny “Bad Jews” is an emotional cage match set in a pricey Manhattan studio apartment. The combatants are Daphna Feygenbaum (Hannah Benitez), a soon-to-be Vassar grad who plans to move to Israel, marry a man no one in the family has met and become a rabbi, and her cousin Liam Haber (Joseph Paul Pino), a master’s degree candidate and atheist who intends to..

The play begins, as it must, with the velvet voice of Nat King Cole crooning “Mona Lisa.” After all, how many paintings inspire an Oscar-winning song? For that matter, how many masterpieces survive damage, theft and the rapacious covetousness of collectors for more than half a millennium? Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Gioconda,” popularly known as the Mona Lisa, is that inspi..

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..

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Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..

Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..

The songs are familiar; the love story is also familiar but made fresh in “On Your Feet!,” the musical biography that comes to Miami this week. The narrative of Emilio and Gloria Estefan meet..

Dance lovers in Miami know that for the past two decades the International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) has made the city in September a magnet for the brightest stars in the world of bal..

Orlando Taquechel, dance critic for two decades at the El Nuevo Herald (and now a contributor to Artburst), will have a book signing and discussion of his new book, “La danza in Miami (1998-..

The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the ed..

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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