DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL
EXPOSING A CITY’S SOUL & SPIRIT
Every year I think that the new jazz year starts with the Tuesday following Labor Day. The previous jazz year wraps up as I walk out of Hart Plaza, turn around and regretfully say goodbye to the Detroit Jazz Festival. This year the threats of a serious thunder storm interrupted the festival on several occasions. This year’s festival will still be considered one of the most successful according to the unofficial international smile meter. It was a remarkable display of resilience as the crowds took cover and reappeared when the weather cleared. The Detroit Jazz Festival is special because those who show up know jazz and accept the stuff that comes with it.
DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL
The festival is appropriately held on Labor Day weekend. However, metropolitan Detroit doesn’t take that weekend off. Everyone has a venue to go to and they are all terrific. There is little reason to go out of town, with the absolute jewel being the Detroit Jazz Festival, where our community puts its soul on display. Every year we show off what we do best, exposing the roots of our music, pain, shame, joy, resilience, cleverness and a lot of kindness. The 2018 festival added some extra zest to its jazz. It seems as though we always get more than the planners planned . There was again something in the air that was inspiring the jazz artists. The crowd got it and showed their appreciation. Then musicians caught the fans’ vibes and used them. Everyone knew that something beautiful was going on.
This mutual respect is what makes this festival unique. The crowd sitting on hard concrete seats become one with musicians sitting in their more comfortable chairs. They start to move together, everyone swaying, clapping with subtle foot taps, all of this movement synced to the music. I am often aware of the powerful connection between the artists and a Detroit audience.
Hopefully some city planners might have wandered in amidst this four day event held right in the middle of downtown. This is an event which takes the assets that exist in the city and shares these assets among a diverse and deserving following. Downtown Detroit glows with all the mutual respect. The planners will see examples of renewal happening stage after stage and bands taking a solid foundation and building on it. It’s a pretty good model for our future growth.
The festival doesn’t happen without serious people planning and industrious people making it happen.
Detroit Jazz Festival Director Chris Collins
Thanks to all the great musicians for coming back and reminding us why you do come back. Thanks to all the staff and the volunteers who are often too busy to enjoy their own efforts.
AND THANKS TO ALL THE REGULARS
For 39 years I have seldom missed a Detroit Jazz Festival. I am a proud REGULAR. I have many reasons to not want to miss this unique Detroit event. One reason is that it is free. It is also close by. Then there is the music and food, which are terrific. But it is the chance to be around the many others like myself who tend to be proud of their town that brings me back time after time. These are the regulars. They can be counted on to know the music and a lot of the musicians. They know why they are there. These are the the familiar faces I want to walk up to and say hi. I don’t know their names, but that doesn’t matter. They are friends.
This magical Detroit Festival is a magnet for so many pure jazz fans from Detroit and in growing numbers folks from other places. The world’s largest free jazz festival through the years has attracted many guests to the city who regularly plan their end of summer weekend to be part of our festival. Their presence is a big salute to those who work so hard to keep the festival at such a high level.
TOM ROBINSON and GRETCHEN VALADE
Two of the regulars are Detroit’s grand champion, Gretchen Valade and Tom Robinson.
Her touch is seen in all those things that work so well at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Her vision will always be on display during the four festive days. Every note will reflect her passion, integrity and vitality.
Tom quietly has done all the things that have been necessary to keep the Festival on an even keel. Both are essential regulars.
WELCOME BACK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE´
The crew from the Dirty Dog will wrap up their stuff from the Dirty Dog tent Labor day evening and begin getting everything ready at the Dirty Dog. They will be ready to keep the music going and welcome everyone back.
TAD WEED 1957 – 2018
” Pianist Tad Weed displays a very rare ability to cross over from dashing bop lines to rich impressions, he has the bases covered, from funky blues to the border of the avant-garde.” -Leonard Feather
Last week we lost a friend and one of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café go-to musicians, pianist Tad Weed. Tad’s trio graced the the club many times. Tad was a deeply knowledgable musician and a skilled pianist. Tad was sought after to be a bandmate and loved as a person. Tad will be missed.
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE´ SEPT 5 – SEPT 8
Drummer Sean Dobbins will continue the high level of excitement from this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival.