Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Manhattan Transfer and Take 6 as well as Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project plan to play this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival one way or another.
The annual Labor Day Weekend event announced a 27-act cast in 2021 during a streaming event from the future home of the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center at Wayne State University’s old Hillberry Theater on Wednesday evening, April 7th. What is not yet clear is where the show will be; The intent is to return to a live presentation at the city’s Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park pending the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and local and state protocols.
Last year’s festival was broadcast live, but without an audience, from Soundstages at the Detroit Marriott in the Renaissance Center Hotel. Organizers say a decision on this year’s event will be made at a later date, most likely in early summer.
But they’re preparing for the show, with this year’s artist-in-residence singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, slated to open and close the festival on September 3rd and 6th, and perform on September 5th. Hancock will also perform on the opening night.
It was also announced that the club on the ground floor of the Valade Jazz Center is named in honor of the Flint-raised singer Dee Dee Bridgewater’s.
Other highlights include all-star centenary celebrations for Dave Brubeck (September 5) and Charlie Parker (September 6), “The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6” (September 4), a “Jazz and the Birth of Hip “Hop” Collaboration (September 4th), Kurt Ellings All-Star “Big Blind”, in two sets (September 4th) and two appearances by pianist Abdullah Ibrahim – with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra on September 4th and the piece “Ekaya” on September 6th.
More acts will be announced closer to the event, the largest free jazz festival in the world. For updates and other information, see detroitjazzfest.org.
The festival will also continue its Detroit JAZZ Fest LIVE! App that gives users access to all performances, as well as other exclusive content, for $ 20.
Wednesday’s announcement was accompanied by live performances by Bridgewater and Sosa without an audience with the Havana-Detroit jazz project. The latter’s set included a piece dedicated to Detroit pianist Gary Shunk, who passed away on Tuesday, April 6th.
The entire festival program includes:
Friday 3rd September
2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Ladies of the Woodshed Network
Saturday 4th September
Matthew Whitaker Quartet
Jerry Bergonzi Quintet
Alicia Olatuja – “Intuition: Songs from the heads 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 with Take 6
Kurt Ellings Big Blind
Sunday 5th September
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”
Tribute to Dave Brubeck @ 100: Brubeck Brothers Quartet – with Jerry Bergonzi, the Detroit Jazz Festival Choir and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra
AZIZA with Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland
Monday, September 6th
Abdullah Ibrahim: Ekaya
Jimmy Greene Quintet
Eddie Daniels and Bob James; Explore new worlds
Flying Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100 Co Music Directors: Rudresh Mahanthappa and Terri Lyne Carrington, Charenee Wade, Adam O’Farrill, Kris Davis, Larry Grenadier and Kassa Overall
Dee Dee Bridgewater Female Big Band