Thursday, August 28, 2008

Detroit Jazz Festival, Aug 29-Sept 1st

Hundreds of thousands of people will be gathering in Detroit this weekend for the biggest Labor Day Jazz party in North America. With 6 stages, and a whole host of other performance opportunities, Detroit Jazz Fest is truly going to be a "Love Supreme."

Billed as "A Love Supreme: The Philly/Detroit Summit," the 2008 festival will celebrate the storied jazz and soul traditions of these two great American cities. A Philly/Detroit jazz tribute to Marvin Gaye, curated and arranged by Christian McBride, will also bow that evening. McBride will present his own unique takes on Gaye's material with a big band of stellar Detroit-based musicians backing R&B vocalists Lalah Hathaway and Rahsaan Patterson. Joining the two veteran singers will be vocalist Jose James.

Throughout the weekend, legendary artists from Detroit and Philly will include Gerald Wilson(who turns 90 this year), Barry Harris, Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath. A gamut of guitar stylists will be showcased over three days with appearances by Stanley Jordan, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Derek Trucks, Calvin Cooke, Grant Green Jr., and Mike Stern. But guitars won't be the only things that slide - trombones will also take center stage with appearances by Robin Eubanks, Slide Hampton, Bonerama, Trombone Shorty and the University of Michigan Jazz Trombone Choir.

A battle of the bands between the Count Basie and Gerald Wilson Orchestras promises to leave the audience breathless by the end of the night. Both bands will be on stage at the same time, along with Grammy award-winning singer Nnenna Freelon, Detroit legend Kenny Burrell, and other special guests (to be announced). The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Jazz Band, with James Moody, Jimmy Heath, and Slide Hampton, will close out the festival on Labor Day, along with sensational vocalist Roberta Gambarini.

A Saturday Night Fish Fry will feature masters of the Hammond B-3 with Reuben Wilson's Godfathers of Groove, Robin Eubanks + EB3, and Joey DeFrancesco with Karriem Riggins and Christian McBride. A tribute to Alice Coltrane, led by her son Ravi, will feature jazz giants Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, and Detroit's own Geri Allen.

As you can read from this partial line-up Christian McBride is playing a key role as Artist-in-Residence of this year's DJF. Lois Gilbert, Managing Director of Jazzcorner, had the pleasure of talking with Christian a few weeks ago, and the InnerView is streaming on Innerviews. He tells his story from funky and jazzy Philly through his learning and playing with the masters in New York and on the road. Please listen for yourself in this hour long special that is full of fun and virtuosity including his love affair for Marvin Gaye and James Brown. By the way, Christian's InnerView follows Marian McPartland's.

Lois Gilbert will be doing a special one on one interview with my dear friend (and longtime idol) Randy Brecker on Sunday in the Pepsi Talk Tent beginning at 1pm. Randy and Lois will be talking about everything from growing up in Philadelphia to his collaboration and memories of his brother Michael, as well as Randy's latest projects.

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