31st Annual – Detroit Jazz Festival 2010

31st Annual
Detroit Jazz Festival 2010
September 3-6, 2010

Festival organizers have announced the lineup for the 31st Detroit International Jazz Festival (DJF), Friday, September 3 through Monday, September 6, in downtown Detroit.


Subtitled “Flame Keepers – Carrying the Torch for Modern Jazz,” the Detroit Jazz Fest will feature a veritable “dean’s list” of alumni who passed through the “schools” of Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Betty Carter, Ray Brown, Miles Davis and Gil Evans. “2010 artists Mulgrew Miller, Bobby Watson, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, and Benny Green were all in Blakey’s band at one time or another,” says festival director Terri Pontremoli. “These musicians went on to develop their own bands, explore new territory and nurture a new generation of flame keepers,” she added. “In jazz, a lot of press is given to the veterans or to the young lions. I am happy to focus this year on these “middle men” who are in the peak of their creative and technical powers, making significant music in our time.”


As the 2010 artist in residence, pianist Mulgrew Miller will be featured on several stages throughout the weekend. On opening night, his trio will be joined by Take 6, and his other appearances include a duo piano session with Kenny Barron, a performance with his own band Wingspan, and a project with Detroit-based artists Karriem Riggins and Bob Hurst.


Bobby Watson will reunite HORIZON with Terell Stafford, Victor Lewis, Edward Simon and Essiet Essiet. Michael Weiss’s quintet will feature Randy Brecker in a tribute to Horace Silver, and Benny Green, along with Christian McBride and Greg Hutchinson will pay homage to Ray Brown. Maria Schneider, a clear disciple of composer/arranger Gil Evans, will bring her entire orchestra to town. In recognition of the 100th birthday of Django Reinhardt, the Hot Club of Detroit will perform. “Brownie Speaks” will feature 20- somethings Dominick Farinacci and Jonathan Batiste remembering Clifford Brown. A special tribute to Detroit’s Pepper Adams will feature the great baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan with another Detroit hero, pianist Barry Harris. “Defenders of the Groove” with vocalist Ernie Andrews, Detroit’s Louis Hayes, Donald Harrison, Eddie Henderson, and Melvin Sparks are sure to tear it up. Vocalists this season include Grammy-winner Kurt Elling with special guest Ernie Watts, and Tierney Sutton. The Manhattan Transfer will perform some of their recent Chick Corea material and then swing standards with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Dennis Wilson.


Other artists include pianist Danilo Perez, saxophonist Tia Fuller, Freddy Cole Trio, Scott Kinsey Quartet, Poogie Bell Band with Victor Bailey, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Newly signed Mack Avenue artist Kirk Whalum, joined by Lalah Hathaway and Robert Randolph, will perform the music of Donny Hathaway. Pumping the B3 in a Saturday night fish fry will be Pat Bianchi Trio and Mike LeDonne Quartet.


The legendary Roy Haynes will appear with his Fountain of Youth band, and drummer extraordinaire Matt Wilson will present Trio M with pianist Myra Melford and bassist Mark Dresser in an adventurous set. The Detroit International Jazz Festival will continue to encourage young talent not only by inviting college and high school ensembles to showcase on the Meijer Education Stage, but by giving them opportunities to perform with jazz veterans. The Wayne State University Big Band will perform Terence Blanchard’s Jazz & Film project with Terence Blanchard and the Michigan State University Big Band will perform a tribute to Horace Silver with Silver alum Randy Brecker. Other visiting schools include the Berklee (Boston) Jazz Ensemble, the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble, William Paterson Jazz Ensemble, and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet.


Jazz Fest continues to showcase outstanding Michigan high school jazz ensembles. And back by popular demand is the KidBop area for the wee-boppers and their parents, with stories, songs, tap dancing and other fun activities. The Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent will be full of laughs and stories, with national artists and writers. Topics will range from remembering Art Blakey to discussing the genius of Betty Carter, Gil Evans and the unique voice of Art Pepper. “As is always the case with this festival, the music will be burnin’, and the ever-hip and amazing Detroit audience will respond in their uniquely enthusiastic and respectful way.” For its 30th anniversary in 2009, the festival initiated a year-long series, “Another Great Day in Detroit.”


Through collaborations with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne State University, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Guardian Building, The Arts League of Michigan the Rowland Caf�, and area jazz clubs, the series will continue to please Detroit music lovers, showcasing Detroit musicians, and building momentum toward Labor Day Weekend.


The Detroit International Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in North America. It has become a major tourist attraction, with 23% of its audience coming from out of state. It has a $90M economic impact on Detroit and showcases the city in its most positive light. In 2010, the festival has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Erb Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.


Major corporate sponsors include Chase, Carhartt, Absopure, Mack Avenue Records, DTE Energy, Meijer, Budweiser, Pepsi, Comcast and Fox 2. In addition, there is a growing base of individual support. Fans are encouraged to become Rhythm Section members by making donations of any size on line over the next few months, as philanthropist Gretchen Valade will match any gift by 50% to help sustain the festival as a free event. “We are extremely grateful to have the support of these institutions and individuals,” adds Pontremoli. “They are our life blood.” Nightly after-hour jam sessions will be held at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, the official festival hotel. The festival is entering Phase II of a Greening Program sponsored by DTE Energy and the Detroit Jazz Fest Cruise on the Ovations Yacht, is scheduled for August 19. For more information, including festival updates and details on how you can help “Carry the Torch,” visit www.detroitjazzfest.com.