This year’s 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival kicked off this year in Downtown Detroit, Michigan allowing music fans from all over the world to partake in four days on non-stop music ranging from straight-ahead jazz, soul, and world music. The four day festival has five music stages including a education stage that allows jazz students from other major universities and their jazz program to play and learn with some of the most prolific and groundbreaking musicians ranging from Joe Lovano, Regina Carter, Joe Locke, and Sean Jones. Also, a Jazz Talk Tent which allows journalists and music commentators to interact in a open forum where music fans can ask questions about the artist’s craft and their history.
Drummer and percussionist Jeff “Tain” Watts was this year’s 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival’s Artist-In-Residence. Other previous AIR’s include Regina Carter, Mulgrew Miller, and Christian McBride. Watts opened up this year’s festival with a program he produced and conducted called “Drum Club.” He composed music fused with classical, jazz, and world elements and invited a hybrid of musicians from all musical genres to play. Special guests included the legendary Cuban congero player Pedro Martinez, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, Susie Ibarra, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, and vibraphonist Joe Locke.
New Orleans own the Soul Rebels Brass Band took to beautiful Campus Martius as they played music and got music fans dancing throughout the entire evening.
Closing out the evening was the “Sing the Truth!” program which featured vocalists Lizz Wright, Angelique Kidjo of Benin, and Dianne Reeves. This multi-talented music ensemble was lead and arranged by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and backed by pianist Geri Allen, bassist James Genus, percussionist Munyungo Jackson, and guitarist Romero Lamambo. The show was steeped in the tradition of the music which includes jazz, folk, gospel, and soul.
For more info on this year’s jazz festival please visit them on the web at detroitjazzfest.com.