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Detroit Jazz Festival announces "reunion" lineup for 40th anniversary

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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After two rained-out performances, in 2014 and 2017, you'd think Stanley Clarke might be skittish about coming to the Detroit Jazz Festival.


Instead Clarke will be the Artist in Residence for the Labor Day weekend event's 2019 edition, celebrating its 40th year and bringing back many artists who have played at previous festivals, including five former Artists in Residence.

"Maybe the organizers decided I should play a few days this time, just in case," Clarke, who performed during a lunchtime announcement of the lineup on Tuesday, April 2, at the Detroit Athletic Club says with a laugh. "It's been the oddest thing; Both times, right up to the point of us hitting the stage the weather was great, then, boom. It's pretty funny."

Clarke will perform three times during the festival: An Aug. 30 opening night "Back to 'School Days'" concert focusing on his fusion work; A more traditional performance with the Stanley Clarke Band on Sept. 1; and a show celebrating John Singleton's film "Boyz in the Hood" with a string orchestra on Sept. 2. His Artist in Residence predecessors Pat Metheny, Ron Carter and Danilo Perez will each perform twice, while Terence Blanchard and Joshua Redman will each play once.

"The thing that distinguishes the Detroit Jazz Festival is they actually have what you would call real jazz musicians there," Clarke says. "Jazz is kind of an undefined word today, there's so many different kinds of jazz. What I like about this festival is they have it all. They don't sort of narrow it down to just Smooth Jazz or Swing Jazz. They cover pretty much everything."

The initial festival bill includes 32 performances, with returning artists such as Kenny Garrett, Sheila Jordan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John Pizzarelli, Macy Gray, Red Baraat, Chuco Valdes, Cameron Graves, Michael Jellick and Thornetta Davis.

A number of additional performances, including the festival's annual Hometown Series and competition contest winners, will also be announced in the future. And the DTE Energy Foundation will be launching a five-show series during the summer at Beacon Park leading up to the festival.

Though admission is free the festival does sell VIP and patron packages via detroitjazzfest.org. It will also offer a Detroit JAZZ Fest Live! livestream for $10, featuring music from all four stages in Hart Plaza and near Campus Martius Park.

The full initial lineup for the Detroit Jazz Festival includes:

Friday, Aug. 30

* Danilio Pérez's Global Big Band featuring the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra and Guests

* Artist-in-Residence: Stanley Clarke – Back-to- ‘School Days’

* The Soul Rebels

* Dr. Valade’s Brass Band led by New Orleans legend, Shannon Powell

Saturday, Aug. 31

* Macy Gray

* Ron Carter Quartet

* Yellowjackets with Luciana Souza

* Danilo Pérez's Global Messengers

* Joe Lovano Nonet

* Cameron Graves with the Detroit Jazz Festival Generations Alumni Band

* Sheila Jordan

* The Soul Rebels


Sunday, Sept. 1

* Artist-in-Residence: Stanley Clarke – A night of jazz with the Stanley Clarke Band

* Kenny Garrett Quintet

* Terence Blanchard -- AB2: Art Blakey Project

* Dee Dee Bridgewater and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

* Pat Metheny Ron Carter Duo

* John Pizzarelli Trio

* Cameron Graves

* Connie Han

* Red Baraat

* Veronica Swift

* Thornetta Davis

Monday, Sept. 2

* Stanley Clarke -- "Boyz in the Hood’"featuring the Detroit Jazz Festival String Orchestra

* Pat Metheny: Side Eye

* Chucho Valdés -- Jazz Bata

* Still Dreaming with Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley and Dave King

* Luciana Souza’s Book of Longing featuring Chico Pinheiro and Scott Colley

* Marialy Pacheco

* The Four Freshmen and 5 Trombones

* Michael Jellick Sextet

Web Site: www.detroitjazzfest.org

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