Detroit International Jazz Festival on the riverfront, Sept. 4-7

One of the surest signs that summer is nearing its end is the presentation of one of metro Detroit’s favorite events. The 30th Annual Detroit International Jazz Festival will take place Friday through Monday (Labor Day), Sept. 4-7.

Subtitled “Keepin’ Up With the Joneses,” the festival will give a nod to Thad, Elvin and Hank Jones, feature other great jazz families, and continue its recognition of the richness of Detroit’s jazz history.

First there are the “family guys” — Hank Jones, the Clayton Brothers, Dave Brubeck and sons, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Larry and Julian Coryell, the Heath Brothers, Pete and Juan Escovedo, and Brian Auger and his family.

Then there are the “heirs” (musicians who represent strong family traditions) — T.S. Monk with a “tentet” performance of “Monk on Monk,” and Chuchito Valdes, son and grandson of pianists Chucho and Bebo Valdes.

The homecoming of Detroit’s greats brings to the stages vocalist Sheila Jordan; pianist Geri Allen in a quartet featuring tap dancer Maurice Chestnut as an additional “voice” in the band; Louis Hayes (Cannonball Adderley’s original drummer) with his Cannonball Legacy Band; Charles McPherson, known for his work with Charlie Mingus; Bennie Maupin’s Dolphyana, a tribute to Eric Dolphy; drummer Karriem Riggins’ Virtuoso Experience with Mulgrew Miller and DJ Madlib; and Dee Dee Bridgewater, who is originally from Flint, with the Michigan State University Big Band.

Last but certainly not least, the great Gerald Wilson, conducting his commissioned work for the festival’s 30th anniversary.

The festival will close with a commissioned “concerto grosso” by John Clayton, written for and performed by the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet.

The festival will not just be music, however. For example, the Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent will be full of laughs and stories with Hank Jones, Christian McBride, Jimmy Heath, Bennie Maupin, Louis Hayes and Sheila Jordan. Topics will range from remembering Cannonball Adderley to discussing the genius of Elvin Jones, Eric Dolphy, Donald Byrd and the special piano trademark of Detroit.

The tent will also feature a gallery of historic festival photographs in honor of the Detroit International Jazz Festival’s 30th anniversary.

Also being offered is “Gospel Monday” that will feature the famed Clark Sisters, Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, and Rodney Whitaker leading a showcase of Mack Avenue Records and Detroit artists.

There will also be fireworks, puppets, “Kid Bop” and so much more.

For additional information and times of performances, visit

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