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a division or contrast between two things that are represented as being opposed or entirely different.



Tia Fuller was featured with the Mack Avenue Super Band at the Detroit Jazz Festival

Angelic Warrior is the name for Tia Fuller’s new Mack Avenue CD. I don’t know who came up with the name for this collection of Tia’s originals. I do know that I was already aware of the dichotomy that is at the heart of all jazz and especially for an artist like Tia. Parts of our being are sometimes conflicting. Tia can blow hot sounds and cool. She wakes us up just to tel us deeply personal stories with her saxophone. Sometimes she is rough and then caresses us with her gentler side. Don’t miss Tia.

DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL  All voices are welcomed.


Saturday night I sat in wonder on the trunk of my car listening to James Carter blow truth into the late summer sky. When he played one could sense his deep affection for the vast crowd of jazz fans. This was a Detroiter reminding fellow  Detroiters that we are  special.  Why else would he have given so much of himself in his playing? He must have known that these were people who would recognize his voice. Detroit knows what he was talking about. No one has a voice like James. It is powerful and it is tender. It is loud and brash, and then James will make a peep on his horn meaningful and sensitive.

Saturday night James joined Steve Turre, the legendary trombonist, in a tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Rahsaan lost his sight as a youth and the group played his song about the loss of his vision. James Carter’s gift of telling stories with his sax showed us the beauty of sight and Rahsaan’s difficult  transition to darkness. It was a powerful performance topped off with James holding a single note forever while the band jammed around his note. This was a further tribute to Rahsaan who was know for his circular breathing technique.

This happened at the Detroit Jazz Festival, which is still free.


I still can’t get my mind off the 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. The jewel is The Detroit Jazz Festival, where our community puts its soul on display. We show off what we do best, the roots of our music, jazz. For some reason the 2014 festival added some extra zest to its jazz. This was more than planning. There was something palpably hopeful in the air.  The crowd got it and showed their appreciation. The musicians caught the fans’ vibes and used them. Something beautiful was going on.

For four days at the end of summer the best of Detroit can be experienced in downtown Detroit.  The most knowledgeable group of Jazz fans are treated to great Jazz.  Nothing is done all year that doesn’t have these fans in mind.  Crowds drifted  from venue to venue while behind the public view crews were making sure music stands were in place, doing music checks and taking care of all the details that would make the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival a glorious success.


There was a different mood this year. The crowd was relaxed and one felt they were at peace with their world. The festival is a good indicator of our times and this bodes well, but Detroit knows there are two sides to any story.

John Osler

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