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10th Annual Overture to Overtown (OTO) Jazz Festival at The Betsy Hotel

The Betsy hotel on Miami Beach will showcase 40 live performances, curated community conversations and exhibitions free of charge. Performances will take place inside the Betsy and on the Ocean Drive Promenade, between 14th street and 14th Place. The Festival’s homage to “JAM” will culminate on April 30 (International Jazz Day) with a solo performance by pianist Danny Mixon. An encore outdoor concert featuring the Danny Mixon Trio follows on May 1. Jazz Appreciation Month (“JAM”) was created in 2001 at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. In November 2011, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people in all corners of the globe.

The Betsy’s ongoing jazz program and 10th Annual OTO Festival celebrates the historic connections between South Florida jazz and the National historic jazz circuit which brought musicians who played in New York City’s Harlem to The Harlem of the South (AKA Overtown) as they made their way from club to club – across the USA. ‘Back in Overtown’s heyday — and on Miami Beach — stars like Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, and many others, performed the same jazz standards that will be performed live at The Betsy’s 10th Annual Overture to Overtown Festival. Overtown also hosted such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, and Mohamed Ali.

Forty stellar jazz activations in The Betsy Lobby Salon are the centerpiece of The Betsy’s 10th Annual Overture to Overtown, featuring pianists Danny Mixon, Jim Gasior, Edgar Pantoja, Tal Cohen, Leonard Reina, Brian Murphy, Ryan Ellis David Attelan, Beau Cornelius, Markus Gottschlich, Marc Irwin, and Konrad Paszkudzki, Trenton Klaz, and Allen Paul. Vocal collaborators include LeNard Rutledge, Carole Ann Taylor, Cindy Ellis, Magela Herera, Nicole Hentry, and Nicole Yarling. Instrumentalists include Tom Lippincott (guitar), Melton Mustafa, jr. (sax), Nicole Yarling (violin), Chad Bernstein (trombone), Magela Herera (flute), Ruben Hoch (drums), and Gary Thomas (Bass). Students from the Jazz Education Community Coalition, led by Nicole Yarling, will also perform. International Jazz Day (April 30) will be celebrated with an appearance by legacy jazz pianist Danny Mixon from 8 to 10 PM in The Betsy’s Lobby Salon; an encore public concert featuring The Danny Mixon Trio with vocalist Carole Ann Taylor will take place stage outside in front of The Betsy Hotel on May 1 in partnership with the Ocean Drive Association and the City of Miami Beach.

Danny Mixon’s May 1 concert culminates a series of 5 outdoor Jazz performances, presented as part of the 10th Annual OTO Festival in partnership with the City of Miami Beach and Ocean Drive Association as part of the Ocean Drive Promenade Concert Series. Here is the 5-concert lineup, all free of charge, open to the public. April 3 – Jim Gasior Jazz Trio with LeNard Rutledge, Vocals April 10 – Edgar Pantoja Latin Jazz Trio, with Magela Herera, Vocals and Flute April 17 – Nicole Yarling (violin and voice) Quartet with Tal Cohen, Piano April 24 – Melton Mustafa Jr. (saxophone) Jazz Trio with very special guest, Nicole Henry, Vocals May 1- Danny Mixon Trio with Carole Ann Taylor, Vocals The Betsy’s Overture to Overtown Jazz Festival celebrated 10 years in April 2002. The Betsy Hotel, owned and operated by the Plutzik Goldwasser Family, is located at 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, in the heart of the Art Deco District. For more info visit

By ML Staff. Image by Gracious Adebayo, Unsplash


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