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Detroit Jazz Festival announces 2020 lineup
On the day Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued her "Stay at Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives." order, the Detroit Jazz Festival decided to "shine a light for the end of the summer and...a challenging time" with the announcement of its 2020 lineup on Monday, March 23.
"It's full steam ahead, no question about it," DJF President and Artistic Director Chris Collins said. "For me, nothing is more welcome after some challenging information than some joyous information."
He added that festival organizers are "keeping a very close eye on and reacting to" the novel coronavirus pandemic and how it might affect the 41st annual festival in downtown Detroit. "But we're looking forward to...all gathering to celebrate the beauty of the music, the city the artistry and all that can bring together."
After announcing 2020 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater last week, the DJF announced a roster of 28 performances for the four-day event, which will take places on stages in Hart Plaza and near Campus Martius Park. Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, Pharoah Sanders, the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6 are among the big names joining Flint-raised Bridgewater, along with several themed and anniversary sets slated to take place during the DJF.
Admission will, as always, be free, though VIP packages are outlined at available at detroitjazzfest.org.
"We ARE a jazz festival; Everything falls from the jazz tree, from the jazz perspective," DJF President and Artistic Director Chris Collins said in making the announcement -- online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic -- on Monday, March 23. "But it's also about evolution, which is a tenant of jazz music itself. It's an ever evolving, living, breathing art form. Every year we try to reflect that in the programming."
Hancock is slated to be the opening night headliner on Friday, Sept. 4, following the first of Flint-raised Bridgewater's four performances (one each day). Other special sets slated for the DJF include:
• The Summit: Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6 on Sept. 5;
• Kurt Elling's Big Blind -- a two-hour musical narrative with Bridgewater, Ben Vereen and others -- on Sept. 5;
• Keyon Harrold presents Jazz and the Birth of Hip Hop with Elzi, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Chris "Daddy" Dave on Sept. 5;
• A Dave Brubeck 100th Anniversary Tribute with the Brubeck Brothers, Jerry Bergonzi and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra and Choir, Sept. 6;
• Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100 with Rudresh Manhathappa and Terri Lynne Carrington, Sept. 6;
• A pairing of Eddie Daniels and Bob James, "Exploring New Worlds," Sept. 7;
• And two performances by Abdullah Ibrahim -- with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra on Sept. 6 and with Ekaya on Sept. 7.
Collins said a roster of local musicians will be added to the lineup at a future date, and he added that the DJF may also make room for other international artists who lost gigs at other events affected by the pandemic.
While there's no formal theme to this year's festival, Collins' loose idea is "The Voice of Jazz" because of a number vocalists, led by Flint-raised Bridgewater and her four performances, one on each day of the DJF and including the Manhattan Transfer-Take 6 Summit. And the Brubeck and Parker tributes, Collins promised, will be "very creative and forward thinking...not just a recap of what they did."
Coronavirus-related shutdowns forced the DJF to cancel its usual luncheon announcing the lineup as well as a planned performance by Bridgewater at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in Grosse Pointe. Collins said that to provide some entertainment as well as revenue for artists, the Detroit Jazz Festival Live subscription series will be webcasting performances on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the next two weeks at least, and possibly beyond. The Thursday episodes will be specially curated by the DJF, including the Midtown Mentors of Wayne State University music school faculty members on March 26 and Regina Carter, Gailyn McKinney and others on April 2.
"From this moment on, as this (coronavirus) thing undulates in the world, we'll be looking to keep new music coming and give artists a place to earn income and to present their works for the audience to experience exciting live music," Collins says. "That mentality will stay with us for the future."
The full announced DJF lineup includes:
Friday, Sept. 4
2020 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Woodshed Network Ladies
Saturday, Sept. 5
Matthew Whitaker Quartet
Kenny Barron Trio
Alicia Olatuja – “Intuition: Songs From The Minds of Women”
Etienne Charles – Creole Soul
David Binney Angeleno Quartet
Keyon Harrold presents Jazz and the Birth of Hip Hop with special guests “Elzi”, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Chris “Daddy” Dave
Pharoah Sanders: Icon
The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6
Kurt Elling’s Big Blind; featuring Kurt Elling, 2020 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater, Broadway Legend Ben Vereen and others
Sunday, Sept. 6
Michael Mayo Quartet
Roberto Fonseca (100%) – YESUN (70%)
Alfredo Rodriguez & Richard Bona Sextet
2020 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and Bill Charlap
Abdullah Ibrahim and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra
Anat Cohen Tentet/Musical Director, Oded Lev-Ari
Sean Jones: “Dizzy Spellz”
The Dave Brubeck 100th Anniversary Tribute; featuring the Brubeck Brothers, Jerry Bergonzi, the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra and Choir, and others
Fly Higher: Charlie Parker@100 Co Music directors: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Terri Lyne Carrington
Monday, Sept. 7
Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya
Joey Alexander Trio
Jimmy Greene Quintet
Eddie Daniels and Bob James; Exploring New Worlds
Omar Sosa & Marialy Pacheco Piano Duo
2020 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and her all-female big band
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