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There’s a good reason that music lovers in Dubai have been flocking to The Jazz Garden at Montgomerie Golf Club in Dubai, over the past few weeks. The first phase of The Jazz Garden Series Season 5 sponsored by Gulf News, just ended on April 14 and the second phase will begin on April 28.

The event is not just for jazz lovers – there’s a lot more to The Jazz Garden Series. It’s an event that brings in music performers of different genres, from around the world to Dubai.

According to organisers, as part of the garden series, jazz and blues artists from around the world perform every Friday night.

Phase one

Phase one included eight sold-out gigs, featuring jazz vocalists, Chinua Hawk and Tracey Preston, wowed the crowds, inspiring them to get off their seats and dance along.

Chinua Hawk at the Jazz Gardens Dubai
Chinua Hawk at the Jazz Gardens Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Hawk, an award-winning singer, writer, and professional entertainer wove in jazz, soul, rock and pop classics in his performance, giving them all a jazz groove.

For the finale on April 14, Hawk started with How Deep is Your Love, a pop ballad written and recorded by the Bee Gees in 1977. He went on to perform classics such as Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi and Killing Me Softly, which was first released in 1973 by American singer Roberta Flack and later re-recorded by other artists. The crowd loved his list of songs, which also included a more recent pop song, As It Was, by Harry Styles.

Ian Leow, an Australian expatriate attending the show, said: "Loved the experience, it is very immersive… we even sang and dance along with the performers. I really liked the songs Killing Me Softly and Livin’ on a Prayer, that Chinua Hawk sang."

Hawk's set was followed by jazz vocalist and recording artist, Tracey Preston. A seasoned vocalist, she is known for her signature performance that blends the grittiness of gospel with sweet soul melodies and the rhythm of modern Rhythm and Blues. Preston dedicated her set to female singers who have inspired her over the years.

With her soaring vocal range, she evoked some of pop music's biggest divas, sharing their uplifting messages of perseverance and empowerment.

Tracey Preston on the Phase 1 finale of the Jazz Garden Series Season 5
Tracey Preston on the Phase 1 finale of the Jazz Garden Series Season 5 Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Preston started with Whitney Houston’s hit song, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and went on to sing the 1989 Tina Turner hit, The Best. Her set also included songs such as Ain't Nobody, a 1983 song by American funk band Rufus and American singer Chaka Khan as well as the more recent pop song, Flowers, by Miley Cyrus.

While Russian expatriate Alexandra Abramiva loved both the performances, her favourite was Preston's cover of the Miley Cyrus’ new song. The 32-year-old attendee told Gulf News: "My favourite song in this set was Flowers by Miley Cyrus."

What’s expected in Phase 2

Jazz exponents ‘Mister’ Melvin Travis and Denise King will perform during the second phase of The Jazz Garden Series Season 5. While Travis will perform on April 28 at The Arena - Phileas Fogg in Montgomerie Golf Academy, Emirates Hills, Denise King will perform on May 5.

Indian expatriate Selma Misquitta, who has been attending the season from Day one, said: "Of course, I plan to keep coming back. It's the perfect way for music lovers to unwind after a long work week."

According to the organisers: "Artists invited to perform include an eclectic mix of artists, each showcasing their unique sound and style — from legendary jazz veterans to rising stars of the genre. Phase 2 will kick off after a break on April 21, with artistes from France, Italy, UK, and the US penciled in as key performers."

Tickets are available on and start at Dh95. Doors open at 7pm, while the live music starts at 9pm.

About the artists:

1) Melvin Travis accompanied by Alexey Cheremizov

Melvin Travis, known by his stage name ‘Mister’ Melvin, is a jazz musician, whose performances are a fusion of various jazz styles, soul, funk, and blues. He is known for captivating audiences with his sensual renditions of jazz standards, French melodies, and Caribbean music.

Having studied at the Black Music School in Paris, he specialised in African-American music, and worked with jazz singer Michelle Hendrix, daughter of the legendary John Hendrix.

He has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Michele Hendricks, Derek Martin, and Jean Carpenter.

Not only is Melvin a singer, he is also a composer, writer, and singing teacher.

Accompanying him and arranging the concert is the quartet of Alexei Cheremizov, a jazz pianist-virtuoso and bright representative of the St. Petersburg mainstream. Cheremizov has performed with many Russian and foreign musicians and is the head of the ensemble. He has prepared numerous projects for the Philharmonic of Jazz Music, featuring jazz musicians from the US and France.

2) Denise King

Always having a love of music, it wasn’t until the age of thirteen that Denise King was introduced to Jazz by an uncle, Herbert Tatum, who had an extensive collection of Jazz LPs (Long Plays).

This love was further cultivated by family, when a cousin Cynthia, shared her passion for the stylings and energy of Nina Simone. Her studies I involved hours of listening to the Jazz greats, both vocalists and instrumentalists. Denise borrowed phrasing styles from Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat ‘King’ Cole and Frank Sinatra.

She was discovered by a friend who heard her singing outside of her home in Philadelphia, who introduced her to the world of Jazz performance. The early gigs were difficult in that she was painfully stage shy. Today, King, who started her musical career in her thirties, has sung at almost all of the top venues in Philadelphia, several in New York, Paris, Turkey, Brazil, Africa, Germany and Japan during the past 25 years.