Artist in Residence Chick Corea and a 25th anniversary reunion of Detroit’s all-female group Straight Ahead are among the highlights of the 39th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival, taking place during Labor Day Weekend in downtown Detroit.
More than 30 performances will be take place on four stages during the four-day event, the largest free jazz festival in the world. Corea will perform three times -- with his Akoustic Band on Aug. 31, with his Elektric Band on Sept. 1 and with the Detroit Jazz Festival Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 3. Straight Ahead performs on Sept. 1, as well.
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Other festival highlights include: an inaugural Resident Ensemble featuring Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lynne Carrington, paying tribute to the late Geri Allen on Aug. 31 and Sept. 3; a Freddie Hubbard 80th Birthday Celebration featuring Nicholas Payton, Randy Brecker, David Weiss and Dwight Adams on Sept. 2; the Trio of Oz featuring Omar Hakim and Rachel Z on Sept. 1; and a Brecker Brothers Band Reunion on Sept. 3.
“The idea that it’s free to the public is really amazing,” Corea said during a luncheon on Wednesday, April 11, announcing the lineupo. “I really love that idea. It’s a really different vibe when you play for a totally free public and they come out on their own and you see kids, parents, people you don’t really see and I really love that. Some of my favorite experiences in concert is to play for free concerts like this.”
Corea played on Wednesday, too, joining Spalding and Carrington for a rendition of Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” Before that Spalding and Carrington performed an improvised set plagued by sound problems, which inspired Spalding to create an improvised song called “Sound Check.”
The rest of the festival roster include: Karriem Riggins Detroit Generations; Marcus Miller; the Julian Lage Trio; the Dr. Lonnie Smith Organ Trio; Nicholas Payton’s Afro-Caribbean Mixtape; Tia Fuller; Sasha Masakowski & Art Market; the Emmet Cohen Trio; Ravi Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness; the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio; Harold Lopez-Nussa with Gregoire Maret and Pedtrito Martinez; the Eddie Daniels Quartet with the Harlem String Quartet; the Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano; Chris Dave and the Drumhedz; the ASABA Trio; Senri Oe; the JC Heard JazzWeek@Wayne All-stars; the Pat Martino Quintet; Four Freshmen and 5 Trombones; Cecile McLorin Salvant; the Christian Sands Trio; Joey DeFranceso’s Project Freedom; Dr. Valade’s Brass Band; the winner of the Detroit Jazz Festival Instrumental Competition; and after-hours jam sessions.
Local acts and those chosen from an open submission process will fill out the bill and be announced on June 1.
The schedule will be updated with stage assignments and performance times at detroitjazzfest.org.
The festival will also again offer the Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE! webcast this year, offering all performances for $10. Registration is available via live.detroitjazzfest.org.