With the weather warming up, many music lovers now have the daunting task of choosing which festival(s) to attend. Well, in case you didn’t know, the SoulBounce “Events” section is a great resource. In fact, it’s almost too good because it just makes the decision that much harder. Take “the jazz festival” for instance. Many jazz festivals have ballooned in size and scope to bring a diverse blend of headliners from many different genres (heck, the lineup for this year’s Capital Jazz Fest alone is enough to make us weak). And while this approach may attract a larger audience, only a handful can honestly claim that they are truly focused on jazz. One such event is the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival, now celebrating its 38th year.
The annual Labor Day weekend exhibition proudly boasts that it’s “the world’s largest free jazz festival.” Set in downtown Detroit, the four-day event from September 1st-4th will feature live performances across four stages. Anchored by venerated saxophonist/composer and 2017 Artist-in-Residence Wayne Shorter, the talent lineup features a diverse mix of trailblazing icons, artists on-the-rise and promising newcomers. On opening night, Shorter will help set the tone for the Festival with his Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. Two days later, Shorter will also participate in a show-stopping quintet featuring Geri Allen, Leo Genovese, Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington. He will close the festival on Monday with a special performance of Emanon accompanied by WSQ and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra.
Four days plus four stages equals a lot of music and DJF has a stacked roster to fill the demanding schedule, with sets from Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, Miles Mosley + West Coast Get Down, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stanley Clarke, Regina Carter and local legend George “Sax” Benson to name a few. Other DJF highlights include The J.C. Heard National Drums Competition, The New Project Series and The Original Voices Series. This year also marks the return of the Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE! app, which will live stream every single performance in addition to providing event schedules, maps and more. Register for the app through the LIVE! website or download it via Google Play or Apple App stores.
Clearly, Detroit is the place to be this September. Visit the Detroit Jazz Festival website for info on artist submissions, membership opportunities, donation requests, educational programs and more. Additional details will be added as the event nears, so be sure to follow DJF on Facebook and Twitter for updates.