stephanie-harris_web.jpgMIAMI GARDENS — It was practically impossible for the crowd to remain seated as Maze featuring Frankie Beverly made their way onto the stage. As soon as the first note was played, thousands of people awaiting the long-anticipated performance began to move along to the contagious rhythm.

Frankie B. and Maze’s music not only brings me to my feet, but also provides a sense of satisfaction and authenticity that puts listeners at ease. This group is special.

I attended my very first Maze featuring Frankie Beverly concert Sunday, March 29 at Jazz in the Gardens at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens.  The experience was absolutely stimulating, electrifying and exhilarating. I had a great time.

For a musical group with an “old school” status, it’s rather uncommon to have such a young following.

When you think about the O’Jays, Gladys Knight, Teddy Pendergrass and others, you think “nice music” – for my parents.  Maze featuring Frankie B. are in an entirely different category.

I’m only 15 years old and I definitely love my T.I., Lil Wayne and Beyonce, but I appreciate Maze’s music more than the majority of the music that’s being produced these days.  I’m not the only one.

Janaye Jeoboam, 16, said, “Their arrangement of beats, their originality, and their rhythm are different from other musicians.  They don’t have to curse or promote violence to get their point across and yet young people still like their music.”

Frankie B. and Maze  produce quality music, provide a good message, and use real instruments rather than electronic beat makers and voice boxes, a few of the reasons that I enjoy them.

My father is a musician who does not appreciate most of my I-Pod’s content, whatsoever.  He constantly reminds me that today’s “music” is anything but.  My daddy also attended Jazz in the Gardens and seemed pleasantly surprised that he saw a couple of teens there who appeared to be with their parents.  I was curious to hear what he thought about how teens feel about this special group.

He said, “It was very refreshing to see teenagers at the concert who were not only familiar with their music, but enjoyed it as well.” 

Frankie B. & Maze’s music varies from other musicians in their generation because their music has this subliminal trait that just automatically compels even the shyest person to get up and dance.  And their lyrics are easy to sing along to and timeless – everybody, regardless of their age – can relate to “Joy and Pain” and “Happy Feelings.”

I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to interview them after their show, which ended in the wee hours of the night.  If I could have, I would have asked how it feels to have such young fans.

My mother did get a chance to ask that very question of Roame, the group’s conga player, when she interviewed him weeks ago.  Ma said when she told him that her 15-year old daughter loved their music, he said it was pretty cool, a testament to the quality of the music they make, and asked her to bring me backstage.

We did not get the chance to do so, but that’s OK.  My love for Maze featuring Frankie Beverly grew stronger from seeing them perform some of my favorite songs live, especially my jam, “Before I Let Go.”

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Stephanie Michelle Harris is the daughter of South Florida Times Associate Editor Renee Michelle Harris.