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DETROIT CITY OF ALL STARS















THE DETROIT JAZZ  FESTIVAL ALL STARS



NOW AND THEN CHRIS COLLINS IS ASKED TO PUT TOGETHER AN ALL STAR JAZZ BAND


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CHRIS COLLINS,  DIRECTOR OF THE DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL

Proving again that the Detroit Jazz Festival is a year long venture, the festival crew is bringing a taste of the Festival to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café for four nights.

It is a pretty easy job to assemble an all star band in Detroit. Most of the artists on any Detroit jazz  list are deserving  and usually answer their phones. Chris’s primary job is to bring together talented individuals who will best create the style of music that he envisions. Next week  his vision is to celebrate the influence of Pepper Adams and Curtis Fuller on Detroit’s jazz. The all stars will honor a form of jazz that has been part of the music played since the heyday of Detroit jazz.


MAKING THE ALL GOOD GUY TEAM

I have never been on an all star team. When I was growing up, we didn’t even have sports teams. We chose up. We had different team mates every day and had to adapt and get along with everyone. Everyone made the team and everyone got a chance to play. Getting a chance to play means that you get a chance to imagine your self an all-star. I was always certain I was making the same moves that my heroes made. With only radio to go by this was easy to imagine. With TV we could see that my heroes were much bigger, much faster and more skilled. My happiest days in sports were before we got a TV.

In music class I was told not to make a sound. I was allowed to listen, and I have learned to be a pretty good listener. I know an all-star when I hear one. Most musicians know an all-star when they hear them and certainly when they play with one. There are people who are really good at putting together all-star groups. Generally they select  artists that they would like a chance to play with. All bands need a headliner, someone who has built a name for himself and can draw a crowd. All star groups have a band full of headliners. This coming week all the players are bandleaders.

In many organizations if you are talented, you are  encouraged to assert yourself. Jazz soloists get to do that from time to time. Jazz like democracy asks more of us. To succeed you have to be a functioning community of players. Each talented player must make room for the other guy. Jazz is also an art form. Jazz music has form to be followed and has many principles that apply to real life. Jazz teaches equality without undermining authority. It instructs the artists how to be assertive without damaging community, and how to live together better without losing their individual identity. Jazz has things to teach all of us.

Jazz is one of our finest civics lessons. In a world where getting along is sometimes not a priority jazz music is an outlier. Good guys know when to step back and when to take the stronger role.  Jazz requires good guys getting along and an All Star band requires a roomful of good guys.


It is fitting that a band of good guys would be honoring two members of the Good Guy Hall of Fame. Pepper Adams and Curtis Fuller were heroic jazz musicians who helped take their respective instruments out of obscurity. Pepper played the baritone sax and Curtis the trombone, which until they came along were considered only supporting instruments.

TWO HARD BOPPERS AND TWO GOOD GUYS










Pepper and Curtis had the ability to listen to their mates and make them better.

PEPPER ADAMS  baritone sax


The baritone sax has always been considered a novelty instrument or a fringe instrument, It hasn’t been something that, until Pepper’s time, was even played with a rhythm section. Before Pepper came on the scene, there were maybe three or four baritone players in history who played with rhythm sections that weren’t in big bands. Pepper Adams liberated the baritone, and made it the equal of all other instruments. He  learned to play complicated lines on this cumbersome instrument.



Curtis Fuller




Born on December 15, 1934 in Detroit A remarkably fluent trombonist, whose impeccable sense of time and ambitious solos made him a mainstay of the hard-bop scene, Curtis Fuller was born in Detroit, where he spent 10 years of his childhood in an orphanage. His interest in jazz was piqued when a nun at the orphanage took him to see Illinois Jacquet’s band, which featured J.J. Johnson on trombone.














In more recent years, Fuller has become known nationally and internationally as a master clinician in jazz studies programs, having worked with students and young professionals at institutions including Skidmore College, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh, Duke University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He holds an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.


AT THE DIRTY DOG MARCH 15 – MARCH 18

DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL GOOD GUYS

THIS WEEKS LINEUP OF GOOD GUYS

Here are musicians that genuinely think that nothing great will come from stepping on each other. Each will make room for the other on their way to making something hopeful and beautiful. They will truly honor Pepper and Curtis.

CHRIS COLLINS

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MICHAEL DEASE


MARION HAYDEN


GAYELYNN McKINNEY


CLIFF MONEAR


ROB PIPHO


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