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Detroit Jazz Festival announces full 2015 lineup

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- Dubbed "maybe the most important North American festival" by Artist in Residence Pat Metheny, the 36th annual Detroit Jazz Festival rolled out the full schedule for this year's Labor Day Weekend event on Tuesday, April 28, at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Metheny will perform four times during the festival, including an opening night reunion with the Gary Burton Quartet, a Pat Metheny Trio set with Detroit-born saxophonist Kenny Garrett guesting and an acoustic duo with bassist Ron Carter, a Ferndale native. Metheny will also close the festival with the North American premiere of his multi-media tribute to German bassist and composer Eberhard Weber, which the guitarist rehearsed on Tuesday afternoon.

"To be here in this (Artist in Residence) capacity is great," Metheny noted during his speech, "but If I was around I'd just come to this festival, anyway." Metheny -- who played briefly with Detroit bassist Rodney Whitaker on Tuesday and will be playing two shows on June 2 at Detroit's Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe -- explained that his Detroit connection goes back to his youth, when his father, a Dodge dealer in Lee Summit, Mo., would bring him on visits, his only real trips out of his home town until he went to college.

The festival announced another 32 acts on Tuesday, which artistic director Chris Collins called "a once in a lifetime gathering of spirits." Carter and Garrett will be performing their own sets during the weekend, while 2013 Artist in Residence Danielo Perez will premiere his "Detroit World Suite," which Collins said may also be performed at the 2016 Panama Jazz Festival. Clarinetist Eddie Daniels will also present "Vivaldi's Four Seasons for Detroit" with the Detroit Jazz Festival String Orchestra and narration by author Douglas Preston.

Preston will also perform the spoken word passages for "Benny's Threads," a suite by Gordon Goddwin's Big Phat Band inspired by Benny Goodman suits that were inherited by Preston's grandmother.

Other highlights from the lineup include an all-star tribute to the late Charlie Haden conducted by Carla Bley, two performances by drummer Will Calhoun of the rock band Living Colour -- with his Jungle Funk Trio and in a Quartet with Greg Osby -- clarinetist Anat Cohen's "Celebrando Brasil: From Rio to Minas," the Oliver Lake Organ Quartet, the Mack Ave. Superband with Christian McBride and Gary Burton, a reunion of the John Scofield & Joe Lovano Quartet, James "Blood" Ulmer & the Black Music Experience featuring Queen Esther and a tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk by Steve Turre and Detroit saxophonist James Carter. A documentary about Kirk will be shown during the weekend as well.

The full lineup can be found at www.detroitjazzfest.com. The festival takes place at Hart Plaza and in Campus Martius Park; admission is free, though VIP packages that include reserved seating are available.

Web Site: www.detroitjazzfest.com

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