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Detroit Jazz Fest announces 2021 lineup -- UPDATED

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, and Omar Sosa & the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project are planning to play this year's Detroit Jazz Festival -- one way or another.

The annual Labor Day Weekend event announced a 27-act 2021 lineup Wednesday evening, April 7, during a streaming event from the future home of the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center in the old Hillberry Theatre at Wayne State University. What's not clear yet is where the show will be; The intent is to return to a live presentation in the city's Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park, pending the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and local and state protocols.

Last year's festival was broadcast live, but without audiences, from soundstages at Detroit Marriott at Renaissance Center hotel. Organizers say a determination about this year's event will be made at a later date, most likely during the early summer.

But they are preparing for the show to go on, with this year's Artist-In-Residence, vocalist ?Dee Dee Bridgewater, slated to open and close the festival on Sept. 3 and Sept. 6, as well as performing on Sept. 5. Hancock will also perform on opening night.

It was also revealed that the downstairs club at the Valade Jazz Center will be named Dee Dee Bridgewater's in honor of the singer, who grew up in Flint.

Other highlights include all-star centennial celebrations for Dave Brubeck (Sept. 5) and Charlie Parker (Sept. 6), "The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6" (Sept. 4), a "Jazz and the Birth of Hip Hop" collaboration (Sept. 4), Kurt Elling's all-star "Big Blind, in two sets (Sept. 4) and two performances by pianist Abdullah Ibrahim --with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra on Sept. 4 and of the piece "Ekaya" on Sept. 6.

More acts will be announced closer to the event, the largest free jazz festival in the world. Updates and other information can be found at detroitjazzfest.org.

The festival will also continue its Detroit JAZZ Fest LIVE! app, which for $20 gives users access to all of the performances along with other exclusive content.

Wednesday's announcement was accompanied by live, sans audience performances by Bridgewater and Sosa with the Havana-Detroit jazz project. The latter's set included a piece dedicated to Detroit pianist Gary Shunk, who passed away on Tuesday, April 6.

The full festival lineup includes:

Friday, Sept. 3

2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Woodshed Network Ladies

Herbie Hancock

Saturday, Sept. 4

Matthew Whitaker Quartet

Kenny Barron

Jerry Bergonzi Quintet

Alicia Olatuja – “Intuition: Songs From The Minds of Women”

Etienne Charles – Creole Soul

David Binney Angeleno Quartet

Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project

Keyon Harrold presents Jazz and the Birth of Hip Hop with special guests “Elzhi”, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Chris “Daddy” Dave

The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6

Kurt Elling’s Big Blind

Sunday, Sept. 5

Michael Mayo

Roberto Fonseca

Dee Dee Bridgewater Bill Charlap Duo

Abdullah Ibrahim and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra (Big Band)

Anat Cohen Tentet/Musical Director, Oded Lev-Ari

Sean Jones: “Dizzy Spellz”

Kenny Garrett

Tribute to Dave Brubeck @ 100: Brubeck Brothers Quartet – featuring Jerry Bergonzi, Detroit Jazz Festival Choir and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra

AZIZA featuring Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland

Gregory Porter

Monday, Sept. 6

Abdullah Ibrahim: Ekaya

Jimmy Greene Quintet

Eddie Daniels and Bob James; Exploring New Worlds

Fly Higher: Charlie Parker@100 Co Music directors: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Terri Lyne Carrington, Charenee Wade, Adam O’Farrill, Kris Davis, Larry Grenadier and Kassa Overall

Dee Dee Bridgewater Female Big Band

Web Site: www.detroitjazzfest.org

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