Of the 16 acts set to perform during the fifth running of Jazz in the Gardens at Sun Life Stadium, only about half are jazz artists by the genre's strictest definition. When it comes to headliners Mary J. Blige, John Legend, and Robin Thicke — three R&B stars who have enjoyed massive pop success as well — it's safe to say that their performances will feature as much melisma and vibrato as any of David Sanborn's sax lines. Similarly, Cassandra Wilson has infallible jazz chops, but her latest album, Closer to You: The Pop Side, includes her take on songs by U2, Cyndi Lauper, and Sting.
Be sure to show up early both days to catch local soul-jazz Kawan DeBose and former Rick James protegée Teena "Lady Tee" Marie on Saturday, as well as South Florida R&B singer Jovie and breakout Canadian soul singer Melanie Fiona on Sunday. We're not sure how rowdy the kid-friendly UniverSoul Circus will get, but Jazz in the Gardens' official site assuredly states: "What happens in the Gardens stays in the Gardens!"