The 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival is having its usual effect on Detroit. Detroit seems to get more energy in the fall after a sleepy summer and the Festival announces the change. The explosion of energy set off by Joshua Redman and his band Friday night tore through the near perfect end of summer night. The large crowd got it. Detroit lives! Detroit is going to be OK. What I saw happening wasn’t a miracle and it wasn’t easy. It takes hard work and planning. Most of the Festival’s venues are constructed,used and taken down within a week. All this is done to allow us to kick start the city’s pulse every year with our addictive music.
Friday on Campus Martius I saw workers do their jobs on scaffolding, on stages, in trucks and then wiping their brows. I watched portable cookers, sinks, tables, chairs,etc. set up in newly erected tents. I watched as the Dirty Dog Food Tent went from a street corner into a vital beehive of activity, not necessarily a place that you would expect to find one of the city’s finest chefs, Andre Neimanis, the Executive Chef and General Manager of the Dirty Dog Jazz Club. Yet, there he is working alongside his staff , matching their efforts from Thursday night’s setup to each night’s cleanup after the crowds leave. These are long work days and nights without air conditioning and familiar surroundings. Like the jazz that fills the air there is a lot of planning, a lot of improvising and a lot of hard work. The Dirty Dog crew works as a team that freely shares tasks and seamlessly gets things done. The scent of Dirty Dog barbeque wafts way up Woodward drawing us in for some chow and a beverage. The only easy job is to sit and eat that barbeque.