Detroit Jazz Festival

detroit jazz festDetroit Jazz Festival
  Officials Unveil Artist Lineup, Annual Festival Poster, and New Festival
  Elements – Festival’s Theme to Honor Midwest Jazz Roots Through “Challenge” Between Detroit and Chicago

DETROIT,MI (rushprnews) May 10 2007– Today Detroit International Jazz
Festival (DJF) officials unveiled details for its 28th annual Labor Day
Weekend extravaganza, which will honor the jazz roots of Detroit and
Chicago through a friendly challenge between artists from each city.

The’07 festival, billed as “The Rumble in the Great Lakes,” will kick off
Friday, August 31st, and feature Detroit’s internationally-renowned jazz
violinist Regina Carter and Chicago’s Grammy-award winning jazz pianist and
composer Herbie Hancock.
    “Detroit and Chicago have produced some of the most prolific and
influential jazz artists in the world,” said Terri Pontremoli, DJF
executive director. “We decided it was high time to highlight the musical
contributions of both cities. For years, Chicago and Detroit have hosted
competing jazz festivals on the same weekend, so why not have an
out-and-out rumble?” Pontremoli added.

    DJF officials revealed the full lineup of artists, many of whom have
Chicago or Detroit ties such as Herbie Hancock, Kurt Elling (performing
with the Wayne State Big Band), Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Bettye Lavette,
The Miracles, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Garrett, Ron Carter and Gerald Wilson.

    “The Detroit/Chicago theme also gave us the inspiration to pull
together some exciting musical projects like the 50th anniversary
celebration of the great Johnny Griffin record, A Blowin’ Session,”
Pontremoli added.
    Mack Avenue artists Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker will present a set
with three tenors representing Chicago and Detroit. Nods to Motown include
a performance by the Miracles, also celebrating their 50th anniversary, and
a tribute to Marvin Gaye by the Michigan State University Big Band through
a suite entitled “What’s Goin’ On?” Don Byron’s performance will be
centered on the music of Junior Walker.

    Officials say fans can also look forward to interesting pairings such
as Maria Muldauer with Jim Dapogny’s Chicago Ensemble, Wendell Harrison’s
Chicago Connection and Steve Wood’s tribute to Yusef Lateef.
    There will be a heavy dose of “outsiders” as well, including Dave
Brubeck, Patti Austin (who will perform her Avant Gershwin material with
the Gerald Wilson Big Band), Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, Poncho
Sanchez, Charles Tolliver, the Brubeck Brothers, Russell Malone, Bill
Charlap, Stanley Jordan, Conrad Herwig and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
    Pontremoli also introduced two new initiatives — an annual visiting
artist residency and a stage dedicated to emerging artists.

    “It’s a thrill to begin the artist-in-residence program with a native
Detroiter who also just happens to be a MacArthur prize winner,” Pontremoli
says of violinist Regina Carter.

    In addition to teaching at a jazz camp for middle school students under
the auspices of Arts League of Michigan this summer, Ms. Carter will play
in several different settings on Labor Day weekend: With her quintet, in a
duo with Kenny Barron, and as a special guest with the Clayton Hamilton
Jazz Orchestra. She’ll also perform with students and participate in
discussions in the festival’s Jazz Talk Tent.
    The Here and Now Stage will feature regional musicians and emerging
national artists such as vocalist Sachal Vasandani, trumpeter Dominick
Farinacci, 14 year-old saxophonist Grace Kelly, and vocalists Chiara
Civello and Jennifer Sannon.

    Based on the success of ’06, the festival will again present a gospel
Monday — this year featuring Mavis Staples and Kim Burrell with Sean
Jones, in addition to local gospel groups yet to be announced. Local jazz
historians Jim Gallert and Lars Bjorn, buoyed by capacity attendance in the
Jazz Talk Tent last year, are planning a full schedule of panels and
meet-the-artist sessions. Herb Boyd, Tony Mowod and Ira Gitler will engage
in discussions with national and local artists as well as other radio
personalities and jazz writers.
    DJF officials also announced other festival features which will include:
      — A family picnic area with daily performances of Hayes Greenfield’s
         “Jazz-a-ma-tazz,” in addition to story tellers and puppets.
      — A hip jazz garden in Campus Martius complete with tables, bars and
         large video screens.  The video screens will play selections from the
         award-winning Jazz Icons series, produced by Reelin’ In the Years
         Productions.  Detroit Jazz Fest is the exclusive site for the world
         premiere of the second series of vintage jazz concerts (the first set
         premiered at the annual International Association for Jazz Educators
         conference).  Quincy Jones has called the series “an audio-visual
         treasure trove of the music that changed the world.”
      — An art gallery tent will feature the Arts League of Michigan’s
         exhibit Rock My Soul.

    In addition to revealing the power-packed artist lineup and new
festival features, DJF officials also unveiled one of its longstanding
traditions — the annual festival poster, this year created by Detroit
rising artist Darcel Deneau.

    “Darcel’s beautiful piece truly captures the essence of our festival
against the beautiful backdrop of Detroit,” said Pontremoli. “The poster
will definitely add to our promotional efforts and is sure to become a
must-have as part of the wonderful collection of posters from years past.”
    To see a downloadable version of this year’s DJF poster, please visit

    Festival organizers also announced the renewing of an old friendship
with the Hotel Pontchartrain, the location of the revered P-Jazz series and
Rapa House jam sessions of the past. Fans can look for nightly
“after-hours” jam sessions, and a salsa party on Sunday night at the Pontch
— which was announced as the official hotel of the DJF.

    As evidence of its commitment to strengthen the educational component
of the festival, the DJF has forged partnerships with Wayne State
University and Jazz @ Juilliard. The festival is sponsoring visiting
artists Conrad Herwig and Sean Jones for Jazz Week at Wayne (July 23-28),
and will feature a mini- residency with Juilliard jazz students on Labor
Day Weekend. The Michigan School Band and Orchestra and the International
Association for Jazz E
ducation will be involved in the high school

    In order to sustain the high quality of the festival and to maintain it
as a free event, sponsorships are extremely important to the newly formed
non- profit organization.

    The festival welcomed back significant ’06 sponsors such as Chase
(Cadillac Square Stage), Carhartt (Pyramid Stage), Ford (Here and Now
Stage) and Absopure (Waterfront Stage). Other major sponsors include MGM
Casino, MotorCity Casino, Mack Avenue Records, Comcast, DTE Energy, and Big
Boy. Budweiser Select is the sponsor of a pre-fest series which will take
place Fridays in August at Bert’s, Baker’s, Cliff Bells and Memphis Smoke
and feature some of Detroit’s best musicians.

    Wayne State University, Art Van, Aqua Fresh and Starbucks will also be
sponsoring the festival this year. Both new and returning sponsors
understand the value of getting their products and services before
Detroit’s premier Labor Day Weekend audience, as well as supporting the
28-year tradition that creates cultural tourism for Michigan.

    “It is great to see organizations step up and support one of the best
free jazz festivals in the world,” said Gretchen Valade, owner of Mack
Avenue Records and main benefactor of the DJF.

    Media sponsors in ’07 include FOX 2, Detroit Newspaper Partnership,
Hour Detroit Magazine, WEMU, WDET, WRCJ and Detroit Public Television.
    “Detroit Jazz Fest is one of the most dynamic free jazz festivals in
the world,” Pontremoli added. “We plan to build on that reputation each
year and are confident that this season will impress both new and old DJF
attendees — who are among the most informed and enthusiastic jazz
audiences anywhere.”

    For access to festival artists’ official bios and photos, please visit


SOURCE Detroit International Jazz Festival


RUSH PR NEWS newswire and press release services at
Anne Howard writer and publicist

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