Detroit Jazz Festival 2020

This year’s Detroit Jazz Festival was unique. It was live, but without an audience as it was broadcast online (and via radio and television) from the Detroit Marriott hotel on three stages with the familiar names we have come to know from hanging out at Hart Plaza since 1980. This was a unique opportunity for musicians to play together, which they had not been able to do since everything closed down in March. What made this possible was the generous sponsorship of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation and its president Chris Collins, with financing by Gretchen Valade (and her companies) and several major sponsors like Rocket Mortgage, DTE, JP Morgan Chase, Comcast, Absopure and a long line of media and philanthropic partners. In short, it required a community of people with a shared interest to keep jazz alive under very difficult circumstances. This unprecedented effort also paid off musically as our team of SEMJA reviewers found out.

In this issue you will find reviews by our team, with some overlap in coverage between reviewers. There is no doubt that everyone agreed that this was an exciting and unusual festival.

TOP: Pharoah Sanders