Detroit Jazz Fest 2021: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, more

Organizers still deciding whether event will be virtual or in-person

The Detroit Jazz Festival is returning Labor Day weekend 2021 with headliner Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Aug. 17 Update: 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival shifting to virtual event due to Hart Plaza construction, COVID concerns

The festival will also include Woodshed Network Ladies, Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter, Abdullah Ibrahim, Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project, and Kurt Elling’s Big Blind.

The fest is scheduled for Sept. 3-6. It’s still not decided whether this festival will be in-person in Downtown Detroit or virtual. That decision is expected to be made in June or July.

The 2020 Detroit Jazz Festival was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Check out this week’s Detroit Jazz Festival preview event:

The preview event was held without an audience at the future home of the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center at Wayne State University in Midtown Detroit.

Here’s a look at some of the festival’s lineup this year:

Friday, Sept. 3

  • 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Woodshed Network Ladies
  • Herbie Hancock

Saturday, Sept. 4

  • Matthew Whitaker Quartet
  • Kenny Barron
  • Jerry Bergonzi Quintet
  • Alicia Olatuja – “Intuition: Songs From The Minds of Women”
  • Etienne Charles – Creole Soul
  • David Binney Angeleno Quartet
  • Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project
  • Keyon Harrold presents Jazz and the Birth of Hip Hop with special guests “Elzhi”, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Chris “Daddy” Dave
  • The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6
  • Kurt Elling’s Big Blind

Sunday, Sept. 5

  • Michael Mayo
  • Roberto Fonseca
  • 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater Bill Charlap Duo
  • Abdullah Ibrahim and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra (Big Band)
  • Anat Cohen Tentet/Musical Director, Oded Lev-Ari
  • Sean Jones: “Dizzy Spellz”
  • Kenny Garrett
  • Tribute to Dave Brubeck @ 100: Brubeck Brothers Quartet – featuring Jerry Bergonzi, Detroit Jazz Festival Choir and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra
  • AZIZA featuring Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland
  • Gregory Porter

Monday, Sept. 6

  • Abdullah Ibrahim: Ekaya
  • Jimmy Greene Quintet
  • Eddie Daniels and Bob James; Exploring New Worlds
  • Fly Higher: Charlie Parker@100 Co Music directors: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Terri Lyne Carrington, Charenee Wade, Adam O’Farrill, Kris Davis, Larry Grenadier and Kassa Overall
  • 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater Female Big Band

Returning this year is “Detroit JAZZ Fest LIVE!” For just $20, Festival attendees and out-of-towners unable to make it to the Festival can livestream performances from all four stages, all four days via their smartphone, tablet or desktop. Additionally, the live streaming services features select performances throughout the year from the Foundation’s year-round initiatives, Festival schedules, maps and more. Register for the livestream at

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.