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Miami Nice Jazz Fest kicks off Oct. 26

A spectacular lineup of multi-award winning jazz masters will perform at the first Miami Nice Jazz Festival, an extension of the internationally celebrated Nice Jazz Festival in France.

The Festival makes its U.S. debut at downtown Miami’s Gusman Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 26-27, marking the first events of a planned five-year tradition. The programs will feature an eclectic mix of jazz and Latin rhythms performed by some of today’s preeminent artists, several with close ties to France.

Grammy winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater will headline the Friday concert, which also features bassist/composer Kyle Eastwood’s band. On Saturday, ninetime Grammy winning pianist-bandleader Eddie Palmieri and his Latin Jazz Band will display his signature style on a program that also features French drummer Andre Ceccarelli and his band Troc, featuring Santana former lead singer Alex Ligertwood, as well as Jannick Top, Amaury Filliard and Julian Mazzariello.

The festival also will showcase the talent of local jazz artists and ensembles, including the Florida International University Big Band featuring vocalist Sally Night and the South Florida Jazz Orchestra with Chuck Bergeron, featuring Nicole Henry.

The jazz grooves of local ensembles from the Frost School of Music at University of Miami and Florida International University will also play the Gusman Center during a pre-concert cocktail reception at 7 p.m. in the theatre lobby each night, followed by the concert at 8 p.m.

Concert-goers can continue the jazz celebration just a few blocks away at the official After Party Jam Session at Avenue D, hosted by Roxanne Vargas of NBC 6. Admission to the club is free for ticket buyers with an MNJF wristband; available in the theatre lobby. Other related events include a Sunday Afternoon Jazz Garden Party at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables on Oct. 28, as well as the “8 Hands Culinary Experience,” that brings the flavors of the French Riviera to the hotel’s Palme d’Or Restaurant.

The Miami Nice Jazz Festival is a partnership between sister cities Nice, France and Miami, joining forces under the leadership of the festival founder and CEO Philippe Pautesta-Herder, who now lives in Miami. The Festival kicks off Miami French Week to promote French culture in South Florida.

Tickets range from $30 to $75 and may be purchased online at www.miaminicejazzfestival.com or by calling 305-374- 2444. A VIP Jazz Lounge Experienceis $195 per person and includes a café table for two, wine and cocktails and valet parking. Students get a 15 percent discount.