Detroit Jazz Festival brings jazz legends downtown

Event brings hundreds of artists to downtown Detroit

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DETROIT - Hundreds of jazz musicians from around the globe will take to the streets of downtown Detroit on Labor Day weekend for the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival.

"In every city, there are certain attributes and events that help mold the community at large," said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. "The Detroit Jazz Festival is guided by the spirit of this city and its people and in turn I hope the Festival can help shape Detroit's culture."

The world's largest free jazz festival brings more than 100 performances to four stages located throughout Hart Plaza and Campus Martius over the holiday weekend.

A unique element to this year's festival is some of the musician collaborations across jazz disciplines, such as:

  • "A Night at the Apollo Theatre," featuring Ted Louis Levy, Margot B, Kevin Mahogany, the David Berger's New York City Jazz Orchestra and special guests
  • Freda Payne with the USAF Airmen of Note Big Band, arranged by Bill Cunliffe
  • Joshua Redman Quartet, featuring Reuben Rogers, Aaron Goldberg and Gregory Hutchinson
  • The homecoming of Detroit artists, including the Homecoming Big Band, where Jimmy Wilkins will conduct the music of Ernie Wilkins, featuring the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra (DJFO) and Detroit Homecoming Guests: Barry Harris, Regina Carter and Tim Ries.

The festival will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday on the JP Morgan Chase Main Stage with 2014 Artist in Residence Joshua Redman. Here's a look at this year's other acts:

·Prism, featuring Dave Holland, Kevin Eubanks, Eric Harland and Craig Taborn
·Diane Schuur with String Orchestra, conducted by Alan Broadbent
·Mike Stern Band
·Nicholas Payton, Sketches of Miles and Gil
·Pharoah Sanders Quartet
·Ron Carter and Peter Bernstein, tribute to Jim Hall
·Stanley Clarke - School Days
·"Straighten Up and Fly Right" - The Nat King Cole Tribute Featuring Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli
·Al Foster Quartet
·Christian McBride Trio
·Cyrille Aimée
·Joey Defrancesco Quartet
·Lou Donaldson Organ Quartet
·Mack Avenue SuperBand
·Marcus Belgrave and a tribute to the legacy of Louis Armstrong
·Sean Jones Quartet
·The Barry Harris Trio, featuring Ray Drummond and Leroy Williams
·The DJF All-Stars - tribute to Sonny Red and other Detroit composers
·Tim Ries and the East Gypsy Band
·Tom Harrell's Colors of a Dream with Esperanza Spalding
·Tormé Sings Tormé, featuring Steve March-Tormé

In addition to the headlining musicians, the festival will feature approximately 130 regional artists from the Detroit area throughout the weekend, including Johnny Trudell, Gayelynn Mckinney, Walter White Quartet, Alvin Waddles and Ellen Rowe.

"The Detroit Jazz Festival, year in and year out, strives to give festival-goers an eclectic, world-class lineup of musicians and, this year, our team has put together a series of acts including many impressive artist collaborations that can't be seen anywhere else in the world," said Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival. "This year's theme is 'Jazz Speaks for Life,' and the performances reflect that concept. I think our compilation of talented musicians will expertly execute our vision and entrance festival attendees."

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