Detroit Jazz Festival Launches its 32nd Season, 9/2-5
Voted one of the top three jazz festivals in North America in national jazz publications this year, the 32nd Detroit Jazz Festival continues to demonstrate how much jazz shines as a symbol of freedom and democracy all over the world this Labor Day weekend, Friday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 5.
Subtitled "We Bring You the World," artists from Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Japan and the Netherlands will convene in Detroit at the world's largest free jazz festival. Performers include: Toots Thielemans, Dave Holland, Luciana Souza, Gary Burton, Ivan Lins, Paquito D'Rivera, Angelique Kidjo, Kevin Eubanks, Vijay Iyer, Vinicius Cantuaria, Joe Lovano, Mandrill, Chuck Jackson, Deacon Jones Blues Revue, StEve Wilson, U.S. Airforce Airmen of Note with Joe Locke, Anthony Wilson, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sammy Figueroa, Tony Monaco, Richie Goods, Rahsaan Patterson, Sean Jones, and Christian McBride with Ernie Andrews and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra, this year presented by MotorCity Casino Hotel.
While artists are visiting from across the globe, some of Detroit's own jazz artists will be coming home. The Detroit-born Dianne Reeves, Geri Allen, Regina Carter, Curtis Fuller, Robert Hurst and Karriem Riggins will prove once again that, based on the talent that comes from southeast Michigan, there must be something in the water. The festival will also recognize Detroit's big band tradition with a J.C. Heard tribute band led by Walt Szymanski, and the music of Detroit's Jean Goldkette played by Josh Duffee & his Orchestra.
With the drum being the most universal instrument, 2011 artist in residence Jeff "Tain" Watts will beat the drum on the JPMorgan Chase Main Stage opening night. He will be joined by his newly created project "The Drum Club," featuring percussionists Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Tony Allen, Pedro Martinez and, Susie Ibarra, along with vibraphonist Joe Locke and bassist Robert Hurst. The freedom theme will be further celebrated opening night with "Sing The Truth!" featuring Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright performing the songs of the legendary Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta. The festival's closing concert on the same stage aptly features another important drummer, Karriem Riggins, collaborating on a special jazz-based performance with hip hop artist COMMON. His ensemble will feature Robert Hurst, Perry Hughes, Mike Jellick, Roger Jones, Mic Holden and DJ dez.
The Future of Jazz is in Good Hands!
While the veteran jazz musicians throughout the weekend are many, a cadre of young and spirited 20-somethings will be exposed to the ever-hip Detroit audience: 2010 Thelonious Monk
Competition runner up vocalist Cyrille Aimee will join the Hot Club of Detroit, American Pianists Association's 2011 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz winner Aaron Diehl, vocalist Champian Fulton, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, Vertical Engine, a fusion band from Japan and, last but not
least, 11-year-old blues guitarist Ray Goren. The festival is also presenting several women-led bands including Amina Figarova, Anat Cohen, Regina Carter, Champian Fulton, Terri Lyne Carrington and Helen Sung.
Artist in Residence
In addition to the world premiere performance of "The Drum Club," Jeff "Tain" Watts will be seen on several stages throughout the weekend. "Tain" will be powering his band Jeff "Tain" Watts 4, and guest with the Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra and the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble. He will participate in the Jazz Talk Tent and star on the Jazz Planet, a streaming news magazine and music channel covering the Detroit Jazz Festival, in the first-ever live video stream of the infamous Downbeat Blindfold Test.
Detroit Artist Showcase
Showcasing Detroit's own great pool of musical talent is an important mission of the festival. Through an electronic submission process and vetting by a local committee, the following ensembles, running the gamut from jazz to blues, Latin and gypsy music, will perform in 2011:
Rayse Biggs & Friends
DerRick Gardner & the Jazz Prophets
Russ Miller Quartet
Gerard Gibbs & (the return of) ORGANized Crime
Alex Graham Quartet
Rafael Ricky Statin
The Oblivion Project
Keith Vreeland & Bad Dog
Dave Sharp's Secret Seven
Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents with special guest Thornetta Davis