Detroit Jazz Festival 2023 Preview

The Detroit Jazz Festival is still the largest free jazz festival anywhere and it has a diverse lineup with a mixture of local and national artists. This year’s artist-in-residence is drummer Karriem Riggins, who will appear on opening night and the last day of the festival with his award-winning integration of jazz and hip hop. Riggins is from a line of Detroit jazz players.

Other prominent Detroit names on this year’s festival are violinist Regina Carter; altoist Kenny Garrett and his combo; Johnny O’Neal who, together with the much younger Sullivan Fortner, will present a tribute to Detroit Piano Masters; Michael Weiss’ trio (with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash) will pay special tribute to Barry Harris on Labor Day; another innovative pianist Jason Moran will celebrate James Reese Europe on Sunday; and veteran drummer Louis Hayes will present his quintet on Labor Day.

The brilliant pianist Danilo Perez will pay tribute to Gretchen Valade on (the recently deceased sponsor of the festival) on opening night, and he will appear with his own eminent trio on Saturday. There will be plenty of vocal artistry from artists like the up-and-coming Veronica Swift, Luciana Souza, Samara Joy, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joan Belgrave, and Lizz Wright. Drummer Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom is always exciting to hear. Guitarist John Scofield and his trio, vibes master Stefon Harris and Blackout is a dynamite group and so is Papo Vazquez’s Mighty Pirates Troubadours who close things out on Labor Day.

See the Detroit Jazz Festival website for a full schedule.