Detroit Jazz Festival Celebrates Its 40th

Detroit Jazz FestivalBassist and bandleader Stanley Clarke will be this year’s Artist in Residence at the Detroit Jazz Festival. The Philly-born Clarke has won many awards in his forty-year career playing acoustic and electric bass, including four Grammys. Last year he released The Message on Mack Avenue Records. He will play several times during the Labor Day weekend Festival, starting on opening night (Friday, August 30) on the Main Stage at Campus Martius.

As has become traditional, things kick off with a New Orleans Brass Band led by legendary drummer Shannon Powell at 6:30 p.m. Former artist-in-residence and pianist Danilo Perez and his Global Big Band play at 7:00 p.m. The band is star packed with alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, violinist Layth Sidiq, and vocalist Luciana Souza. Stanley Clarke will appear at 9:00 p.m. celebrating his classic 1976 album School Days. Clarke will also appear on Sunday and Monday of the festival.

Other headliners this year are tenorist Joe Lovano, who will appear with his Nonet (Saturday); guitarist Pat Metheny in a duo with bassist Ron Carter (Sunday); trumpeter Terence Blanchard (Sunday); tenorist Joshua Redman (Monday); pianist Chucho Valdez (Monday); and Brazilian vocalist Luziana Souza (Monday).

As always, many former Detroiters will be featured, such as vocalist Sheila Jordan backed by Marion Hayden’s Trio (Saturday); Flint’s Dee Dee Bridgewater with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (Sunday); Freda Payne with Ralphe Armstrong’s Trio (Saturday); Ron Carter’s Quartet (Saturday); Kenny Garrett’s Quartet (Sunday); and tenorist Rick Margitza (Sunday).

The Jazz Talk Tent will feature many interesting speakers and panelists. Noteworthy are Dexter Gordon’s widow Maxine discussing her book Sophisticated Giant about Long Tall Dexter, and Mark Stryker talking about his new book Jazz From Detroit.