Dee Dee and Herbie Headline DJF 2021

Dee Dee Bridgewater (right) and Herbie Hancock were announced as the head- liners for this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival to be held on Labor Day weekend. It is yet to be determined how much if any of the festi- val will be live downtown Detroit or if there will be a repeat of last year’s successful vir- tual version. Final word on the format will come this summer; no matter, Bridgewater (who hails from Flint) will be the Artist in Residence and share opening night with Hancock. She will also appear at the festival with her own trio and an all-women group she calls The Woodshed Network. The announcement was part of a live-streamed presentation by the festival, replacing the traditional press conference.

The rest of the lineup includes the following.

Saturday will feature piano veteran and former Detroiter Kenny Barron, tenorist Jerry Bergonzi, Omar Sosa and the Detroit-Havana Jazz Project with Chris Collins and trumpeter Etienne Charles,vocals from Kurt Elling, and the Manhattan Transfer.

Sunday will feature Abdullah Ibrahim, Dee Dee paired with pianist Bill Charlap, vocalist Gregory Porter, altoist Kenny Garrett with a new ensemble, a tribute to Dave Brubeck on his 100th birthday, Dave Holland, and Chris Potter.

Labor Day we will enjoy Abdullah Ibrahim and his Ekaya group, Bridgewater with her all female big band, former University of Michigan piano student Bob James and clarinetist Eddie Daniels.

Please stay tuned for more details in a month or two.

Gretchen Valade Jazz Center

One part of the DJF 21 announcement was a brief introduction to
the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center under construction in the former Hillberry Theater. Festival director Chris Collins took the viewers down the stairs to the planned jazz club named Dee Dee Bridgewater’s and at the same time introduced Bridgewater to the space. It was an event made for live TV. Bridgewater also performed in the space with the group that will back her at the Festival this year: a trio with young Washington DC pianist Sequoia Snyder plus Detroiters Marion Hayden on bass and Gayelynn McKinney on drums. It was not only great TV drama, but also tasty preview of Bridgewater’s performance at the jazz festival. She romped through “Basin Street Blues” and “Save Your Love for Me” (an homage to Nancy Wilson).