It's been 40 Labor Day weekends since the first Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival took place, and the event — now known as simply the Detroit Jazz Festival — is as strong as it's ever been, a world-class four days (Friday through Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 2) of music, with none of the other holiday weekend festival thrills.
With 57 acts playing on four stages, plus late-night jam sessions and a Talk Tent, there's no shortage of highlights. But here are six you should catch by any means necessary:
• Artist-in-Residence Stanley Clarke kicks things off at by strapping on his electric bass guitar for a Back to School Days set at 9 p.m. Friday on the JP Morgan Chase Main Stage.
• The festival's first jam session pays tribute to trumpeter and band leader Johnny Trudell at 11 p.m. Friday in the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.
• Motown Funk Brother Dennis Coffey shows off his jazz chops at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Absopure Water Front Stage.
• Previous Artists in Residence Pat Metheny and Ferndale native Ron Carter create duo magic at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the Carhartt Amphitheater Stage.
• Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater joins forces with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at 8:15 p.m. Sunday on the Main Stage. (Also telecast at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, on WTVS-Channel 56).
• Clarke returns to close things out by recreating his score for the film "Boyz in the Hood" with the Detroit Jazz Festival String Orchestra at 7 p.m. Sunday on the Amphitheater Stage.
Detroit Jazz Festival admission is free; VIP packages are available. detroitjazzfest.org.
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