The Detroit Jazz Festival will welcome five former Artists-in-Residence — along with Stanley Clarke in that capacity this year — as it celebrates its 40th anniversary over Labor Day Weekend (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).
The world’s largest free jazz festival announced an initial lineup of 32 performances on Tuesday (April 2) — with more to be added later — including an assortment of artists who have previously performed at the event. Clarke will be joined by predecessors Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Ron Carter, Terence Blanchard and Joshua Redman.
“The thing that distinguishes the Detroit Jazz Festival, as well as the Newport Jazz Festival, is they actually have what you would call real jazz musicians there,” Clarke, whose appearances at the 2014 and 2017 festivals were both rained out, tells Billboard. “It’s hard; Jazz is kind of an undefined word today, there’s so many different kinds of jazz. What I like about this festival is they have it all. They don’t sort of narrow it down to just Smooth Jazz or Swing Jazz. They cover pretty much everything.”
The bassist will perform three times during the festival: an Aug. 30 opening night “Back to ‘School Days'” concert focusing on his fusion work; a more traditional performance with the Stanley Clarke Band on Sept. 1; and a show celebrating John Singleton’s film Boyz in the Hood with a string orchestra on Sept. 2. Metheny and Carter will play as a duo on Sept. 1, while the guitarist will play a Side Eye show on Sept. 2; Carter will also play with his quartet on Aug. 31. Perez will lead his Global Big Band on opening night and his Global Messengers on Aug. 31. Blanchard will host an AB2: Art Blakey Project on Sept. 1, and Redman will play in Still Dreaming on Sept. 2 with Ron Miles, Scott Coley and Dave King.
Other artists on the festival bill include Kenny Garrett, Sheila Jordan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John Pizzarelli, Macy Gray, Red Baraat, Chuco Valdes, Cameron Graves, Michael Jellick and Thornetta Davis.
Though admission is free the festival does sell VIP and patron packages via detroitjazzfest.org. It will also offer a Detroit JAZZ Fest Live! livestream for $10, featuring music from all four stages.
The full initial lineup for the Detroit Jazz Festival includes:
Friday, Aug. 30
* Danilo Pérez’s Global Big Band featuring the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra and Guests
* Artist-in-Residence: Stanley Clarke – Back-to- ‘School Days’
* The Soul Rebels
* Dr. Valade’s Brass Band led by New Orleans legend, Shannon Powell
Saturday, Aug. 31
* Macy Gray
* Ron Carter Quartet
* Yellowjackets with Luciana Souza
* Danilo Pérez’s Global Messengers
* Joe Lovano Nonet
* Cameron Graves with the Detroit Jazz Festival Generations Alumni Band
* Sheila Jordan
* The Soul Rebels
Sunday, Sept. 1
* Artist-in-Residence: Stanley Clarke – A night of jazz with the Stanley Clarke Band
* Kenny Garrett Quintet
* Terence Blanchard — AB2: Art Blakey Project
* Dee Dee Bridgewater and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
* Pat Metheny Ron Carter Duo
* John Pizzarelli Trio
* Cameron Graves
* Connie Han
* Red Baraat
* Veronica Swift
* Thornetta Davis