The Detroit Jazz Festival: 37 Years of Scats, Beats and Keys

Posted: 09/02/16

Detroit_Jazz_Festival_LogoDetroit is known for putting the world on wheels whether its two wheels or four. We’re known for our burgeoning foodie culture where you can find everything from street eats to the hyper local James Beard award winning chefs. Our beloved city is also known as one of the world’s foremost hubs for music, the birthplace of Motown, House and some of the greatest Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Classical musicians in the world. Since 1979 each Labor Day weekend, the world has gathered in Detroit’s downtown to witness just what happens when those worlds collide. This weekend, all eyes and ears will be focused on Downtown Detroit as artists such as George Benson take the stage beginning, Friday, September 2 for the Detroit Jazz Festival.

Now in its 37th year, the Detroit Jazz Festival, has grown to be one of largest free and most important Jazz festivals in the world. Each year the event takes attendees on a musical journey that introduces them to the newest jazz talent, testing the limits of the genre, merging it with elements of Gospel, Hip-Hop and Latin to traditional masters. This year the lineup promises to be better than ever.

Sponsored by Quicken Loans, JPMorgan Chase & Co., DTE Energy Foundation and more, this year’s festival will feature performances over four stags September 2 – 5. This year’s artist in residence is Detroit native Ron Carter, the world renown bassist who has recorded over 2,000 songs throughout his legendary career.

“The jazz tradition in Detroit is iconic and known worldwide. Today, it’s a vibrant scene that is constantly evolving and growing and our Festival continues to nurture and support it,” said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Board of Directors. “With the wonderful Ron Carter as our artist-in-residence, we are taking the music to a new level of Detroit connection. Once again, we hope the Festival transcends the music itself and gets people downtown to see and experience Detroit’s distinct flavor. We look forward to adding to Detroit’s jazz tradition and another Labor Day weekend to remember.”

On Saturday, the festival will feature performances by Randy Weston’s African Rhythms & the Wayne State University Big Band, Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton, Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours and The Soul Rebels. Sunday the musical journey continues with music from Freddy Cole with the Detroit Jazz Festival String Orchestra – The Cole Family Legacy – Remembering Nat and Natalie and Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Established by Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Celebrate 50 years at the Village Vanguard. Other performances include Michael Malis Trio, Cyrille Aimée and Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation. The festival wraps up with performances by Scofield Mehldau Guiliana, Motown Legends Gospel Choir and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon.

The Detroit Jazz Festival will take place on Friday from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Monday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.  For more information on the full schedule, parking and more please visit www.detroitjazzfest.com.

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