As a student at Hollywood Hills High School, Michael Fagien’s mind was set on medicine but his heart was all about the music. It was not an uncommon dilemma for a kid coming of age in the ’70s. This kid, though, turned his two passions into a career that just has to be one of a kind. Call it a medley of the heart and mind.
Now co-owner and nuclear radiologist of Impression Imaging in Broward County, he is also the impresario behind Jazziz Nightlife restaurant and club in Boca Raton and the founder, publisher and editor of Jazziz Magazine, which just last month celebrated its 30th birthday.
“It’s Jazziz Nightlife and radiology day-life,” he says wryly. “I just don’t sleep.”
His family moved to Hollywood from the Jersey shore when he was in junior high. Playing in several “horrible” bands taught him he wasn’t going to make it as a musician – “I’m the worst guitarist in the world,” he says – but he parlayed his love of music into writing reviews. “I still write today, although our editors tell me I’m our worst writer,” he says with a laugh.
The writing evolved into Jazziz Magazine during the years he studied medicine at the University of Florida. Starting any magazine takes a lot of sweat, but in Fagien’s case, it did so literally. “I used to run around with gloves collecting sweat off athletes so Dr. Bob Cade [the developer of Gatorade] could analyze its content. I told him about the idea for a magazine, and he agreed to put up the venture capital to get it started,” he says.
Continuing to put out the magazine, Fagien went on to graduate from UF, followed by an internship and residency in radiology and a fellowship in nuclear medicine before directing the nuclear medicine department there for about 10 years. He moved back to South Florida in 2000 and began opening imaging centers around the country.
“I’ve probably read more PET scans than anybody in the world,” he says of his specialty in molecular imaging. “There was a time when I was reading 50 or more PET scans a day for almost 10 years.”
At the same time, Jazziz was staking its claim as the largest jazz magazine in the world, thanks to an appeal that transcends the genre and innovations like packing each issue with a music CD, a much-imitated tactic. The magazine’s cache also generated a record label, a recording studio and, for a few years, Nightlife precursor Jazziz Bistro, at Hard Rock’s Seminole Paradise.
Though Fagien’s hand remains in the magazine (he still designs every cover), his involvement in it has been eclipsed by the sophisticated 12,000-square-foot venue at Mizner Park. With a team including his wife, Zakiya, also a doctor, and his twin brother, Steven, a plastic surgeon, Jazziz Nightlife launched in April. They took advantage of the off-season months to refine the multifaceted concept (Is it a Supper club? Dance club? Lounge? Restaurant? Yes!) before recently throwing a killer-classy party to kick off the new season, which touts headliners like Molly Ringwald, Al Dimeola and Spyro Gyra.
Despite the late start, he says the response has exceeded expectations. “It’s the music, the ambience, the food that appeals to not necessarily a specific genre – it’s not a pop or a rock or a jazz crowd – it’s an adult crowd,” he says. “It’s music for adults.”
A Parkland resident, he and his wife of seven years have two children, and he has three more from a previous marriage. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived about 10 lives,” says Fagien, 56, of his achievements. “But to see my 23-year-old play with my 19-month-old … there’s nothing that comes close to that kind of achievement.”
Jazziz Nightlife, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton,