Miami's Top Ten Jazz Musicians
Photo by Manny Iriarte
We've been having some fun lately with these "Best of All Time" lists. But today, we will refrain from saying these jazz musicians were/are the best of all time. No, they are jazz musicians of note who made Miami their home. A best-of-all-time list would be way too long, and to explain that, I will quote myself from 11 years ago:
"For those who think that jazz was a phenomenon restricted to Chicago or New York City, here's a heads up. From the late Sixties through the mid-Eighties, South Florida was the kind of place that awoke goggle-eyed from stiff drinks and glorious, honest performances. Miami had it, and for the players, the money was there. A musician could make a living gigging here three to five nights a week. Of course, a few parameters existed that allowed for such circumstances: crowds, venues, and talent."
South Florida used to be a jazz mecca. These musicians helped ensure that distinction.
10. Pete Minger
George Allen "Pete" Minger was a trumpeter and flugelhorn player who had the distinction of working with the Count Basie Orchestra during the '70s. He released a pair of solo albums, Minger Paintings and Look to the Sky. Like many on this list, he was a University of Miami graduate and instructor. A featured trumpeter on many occasions, Minger was a frequent live local during the '90s. Sadly, he passed away at only 57 years of age in 2000.
9. Ira Sullivan
Originally from Chicago, Ira Sullivan, now in his early 80s, has been a resident of South Florida since the late 1960s and has been one of the more virtuosic musicians to call Miami home. Equally adept on the trumpet and flugelhorn as the alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, Sullivan brought some of the Chicago hard-bop to Miami Beach's fledgling jazz scene back in the day.
See also: Miami's Five Best Jazz Clubs