Detroit Sound Conservancy works to restore iconic jazz club Blue Bird Inn

Uniquely Detroit: The Blue Bird Inn

DETROIT – If the walls at The Blue Bird Inn could talk, they'd have some incredible stories to tell.

The historic Blue Bird Inn was a launchpad for sonic and social rebellion during the Civil Rights movement in Detroit. Hundreds of jazz musicians stood and performed on The Blue Bird Inn Stage from the late 1950s until the club’s closing earlier this century.

These musicians, including national leaders in modern music like Miles Davis and John Coltrane explored rhythm, melody, and improvisation on a platform that foregrounded Detroit’s commitment to serious listening.

Local musicians, such as drummer Roy Brooks and saxophonist Wendell Harrison, who both attended nearby Northwestern High School, apprenticed at The Blue Bird, learning the “Detroit way” to communicate with audiences and fellow musicians.

Detroit Sound Conservancy salvaged the stage from the then blighted and abandoned club, rebuilt it, and then activated it with Detroit-area high school vocalists.

In 2019, the Detroit Sound Conservancy purchased the the historic Blue Bird Inn at 5021 Tireman and now plan for return of the stage to its original home on Detroit’s West Side.

How to help restore Blue Bird Inn

Having purchased The Historic Blue Bird Inn at 5021 Tireman, the Conservancy now will focus their efforts on cleaning up and securing the property, as well as building relationships with new neighbors and community partners. In that spirit, we will be participating in MotorCity Makeover this year on May 18, 2019 from 10 am to 2 pm. (Sign up here)

Learn more about the Detroit Sound Conservancy here.

About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.