The renowned arts-focused Betsy Hotel is pleased to announce back by popular demand, Legacy Pianist Danny Mixon as an Artist in Residence at The Betsy Writers Room.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary of hosting creatives working in a wide range of disciplines from poetry, journalism, music, and the visual arts.
During his residency, he will be performing at The Betsy’s 11th Annual Overture to Overtown Jazz Festival celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month (April) and Jazz Day, April 30, 2023.
Danny Mixon is one of several headliners performing as part of the Betsy’s 11th annual Overture to Overtown Jazz festival honoring the legacy of Overtown as Miami’s historic jazz mecca and with that in mind, the Betsy’s robust lineup inside the Hotel will be augmented by curating and co-presenting events in Overtown, in the Miami Dade County Public Schools, at area colleges, and with the Ocean Drive Association in Lummus Park. The Betsy’s 11th Annual Overture to Overtown Jazz Festival is co-produced by legacy jazz vocalist and businesswoman Carole Ann Taylor and Deborah Briggs, Betsy VP of Arts and Community Engagement.
The Betsy’s Annual Overture to Overtown Jazz Festival (OTO) celebrates the historic connections between South Florida jazz and the National historic jazz circuit which brought musicians who played in NYC’s Harlem to The Harlem of the South (AKA Overtown) as they made their way from club to club – across the USA. In Overtown, stars like Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, and Josephine Baker not only performed but also spent the night because of segregation laws in Miami and Miami Beach. Unable to stay the night after a gig, they went “over town” to their hotels and stayed in hotels that were owned and operated by Black proprietors. The talents of so many cultural ‘greats’ fostered such world-class entertainment venues in Overtown as the Lyric Theater, Knight Beat, and other clubs. Over the years, distinguished African American intellectuals also stayed there, including W.E.B. Dubois, author Zora Neale Hurston, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X frequented the area and so did Muhammed Ali, as did so many other great African American voices.
Betsy Artists In Residence Danny Mixon
A prolific piano virtuoso who has performed in the U. S. and Internationally, Daniel Asbury Mixon was born on August 19, 1949 in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up in a musical household he was influenced by his mother and grandparents beginning his early artistic expression at the age of 3.
He studied and performed as a tap dancer at the Ruth Williams Dance Studio and was known as “The Show Stopper.” Danny attended the High School of Performing Arts with dance as his major.
During an afternoon outing at the Apollo Theatre with his grandfather Danny was inspired by the jazz musicians he heard. It was then that he decided that he would like to be a pianist and he never once looked back. At the age of thirteen Danny began piano lessons. His most memorable piano instructor was Sir Roland Hanna. By the time Danny was 17, he was invited to play with Sam Brown and Patti Labelle and the Blue Bells in Atlantic City and two years later he found himself with the Muse Quartet under the auspices of Chris White. Among his earlier credits Danny played regularly with Joe Lee Wilson from 1967 to 1970, Betty Carter from 1971 to 1973.
He also recorded and played extensively with Charles Mingus and Dannie Richmond in the late 70’s. He began playing the organ at Brooklyn’s Baby Grand with Carlos Garnet, and accompanied Big Maybelle at the Blue Coronet. In the mid 90’s he appeared regularly at Showman’s as an organist.
Danny has worked with such legendary performers as Lionel Hampton, Joe Williams, and Frank Foster and continues to be in Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band and his Non-Electric Company. He was honored to have participated in the first Newport Jazz Festival at Sea on Queen Elizabeth 2. He was also a recipient along with Max Roach for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation Jazz Appreciation award and in December 2002 was awarded the Harlem Unsung Heroes of Afrikan Amerikan Classical Music award.
In April of 2002 Danny was privileged to take part in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah while performing with Savion Glover, and also performed at the International “Fall in Jazz Festival” in Milan, Italy. From November 1-8, 2003 he performed for the second time aboard the Holland American Ms. Zaandam Jazz Cruise.
In May of 2004, Danny was one of the first musicians to be honored by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in a series entitled “Harlem Speaks,” which resulted in an invitation to the White House for Black Music Month on June 22nd, 2023. More recent, Danny had been interviewed by New York Oneat Showman’s and Lenore Raphael on her show on Pure Jazz Radio. He was honored by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Mark Markowitz along with other artists from Ft Green in June and September 22, 2011, and was decreed “Danny Mixon Day” in Brooklyn. He performed with the Lisle Atkinson and the Neo Bass Choir June 10th and later kicked off Jazzmobile’s Summer Series with the Danny Mixon Quartet at Grant’s Tomb July 27, 2011.
Danny’s greatest joy is performing, composing, and arranging for his own group “The Danny Mixon Trio or Quartet,” and has recently completed his new CD entitled “The Danny Mixon Trio Live at the Rubin Museum.” He has also performed, toured, and/or recorded with Yusef Lateef, Hank Crawford, Savion Glover, Pharoah Sanders, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Eubie Blake, Noel Pointer, Jimmy Witherspoon, Grant Green, Eddie Jefferson, Charles McPherson, Marlena Shaw, Irene Reid, Houston Person, Dakota Staton, Ben Vereen, Leon Tomas, Chaka Khan, Cassandra Wilson, Lou Rawls, Gloria Lynne, Lisle Atkinson, Oscar Brown, Jr., John Hendricks, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Earl May, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Kenny Dorham, and many others.
Danny was formerly the Musical Director of the Legendary Lenox Lounge and was briefly the Musical Director at the newly restored Minton’s. Danny is an instructor and performance artist with the Jazzmobile as well as instructing at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, along with private instruction.
The Betsy’s Jazz program is the longest continually running series of its kind in the region, featuring live performances 9 times a week – from 6 to 11 PM nightly, and from 11 AM to 4 PM weekends with a jazz performance space situated at a Steinway grand adjacent to LT Steak and Seafood. Featured performers define the diversity of jazz broadly, from traditional to fusion to multicultural and experimental – with a special focus on virtuoso jazz piano.
The Betsy Hotel
The Betsy-South Beach (thebetsyhotel.com) is an award-winning luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of the Art Deco District on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, that celebrates arts and culture. https://bit.ly/3C95W1Y. The Betsy hosts jazz nine+ times weekly and offers programs in visual arts, literature, community arts, and classical music – all presented in the context of a luxurious curated stay, in an unrivaled ambiance designed by Carmelina Santoro and Diamante Pedersoli contained in historic buildings designed by the Art Deco’s greatest architects: L. Murray Dixon and Henry Hohauser. Owned and operated by the Plutzik Goldwasser Family, all public spaces are filled with works of art by award-winning global artists curated by co-owner Lesley Goldwasser.
For more information on The Betsy’s 11th Annual Overture to Overtown Jazz Festival, Jazz Programming, and Writers Room, please visit: www.thebetsyhotel.com