The 45th Detroit Jazz Festival Announces its 2024 Lineup

The storied Detroit Jazz Festival, billed as the world’s largest free jazz extravaganza, announced the majority of its 2024 lineup during a live stream preview on Wednesday, April 10, from the soon-to-open Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center on Wayne State University’s campus.  The 45th  Festival will be held over the Labor Day Weekend (Friday, August 30 to Monday, September 2) in Hart Plaza and Campus Martius in downtown Detroit.

The lineup announced includes Grammy Award-winning drummer, composer, bandleader, and Louisiana native Brian Blade, who will also serve as the festival’s 2024 Artist-in-Residence.  Festival goers will get an opportunity to see and hear the highly talented, in-demand drummer in action when he performs multiple times under the musical banner “Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band.”

“Brian Blade’s career, beginning with his Gospel roots in Shreveport, Louisiana, to his ascension to becoming one of the most acclaimed jazz drummers in the country, is a shining testament to his dedication and commitment to jazz and its evolutions,” said Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. “His legacy and contributions to this year’s Festival will be greatly appreciated by our fans and the entire global jazz community.”

Other performing jazz and recording artists announced include the Billy Childs Quartet with special guest Sean Jones, Cameron Graves, Carmen Lundy, Charlie Sepulveda & The Turnaround (with Special Guest), Chief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott), Christian McBride, Ghost-Note, Isaiah J. Thompson Quartet, and James “Blood” Ulmer Music Revelation Ensemble.

Additional acts are the Joshua Redman Group (featuring Gabrielle Cavassa’s “Where Are We’ Tour), Kyle Eastwood – Eastwood Symphonic, Monty Alexander D-Day, Nate Smith, Pablo Ziegler Quintet (featuring Roberta Gambarini), The Bad Plus, The Vibraphone Summit (featuring Warren Wolf, Joe Locke, Jason Marsalis, and Chien Chien Lu), Marquis Hill Composers Collective, Melanie Charles, Mimi Fox Organ Trio, and Zig Zag Power Trio (featuring Vernon Reid, Melvin Gibbs, and Will Calhoun).

TRANSLINEAR LIGHT: The Music of Alice Coltrane will also be featured as performed by her son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, with special guest Brandee Younger.  Alice Coltrane, a native Detroiter and iconic pianist and harpist, died in Los Angeles on January 12, 2007.  She was married to the consensus world’s greatest jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane, until his death in 1967.

“This year’s lineup reflects a very dynamic and eclectic combination of next generation and legacy jazz musicians who reflect the diverse tapestry of jazz and its evolutions,” said Collins, who is also a noted jazz saxophonist and professor and Valade Endowed Chair in Jazz at Wayne State University.  “We look forward to their energy and craftsmanship on our stages and seeing our faithful jazz fans in downtown Detroit on Labor Day weekend.”

The idea of the free, world-class jazz festival in the Motor City was sparked in 1979, when Robert McCabe, president of Detroit Renaissance (1971-92), Detroit’s first Black Mayor Coleman A. Young, and a forward-thinking group of jazz aficionados convened to bring a major annual jazz event to the city that would have longevity and world-wide interest.  In 1980, the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival was born as a Motor City affiliate of the storied Montreux Jazz Festival, held annually in Switzerland since 1967.

In 2005, the name changed to the Detroit International Jazz Festival when Detroit philanthropist and Mack Avenue Records Chairman Gretchen Valade emerged as a major sponsor of the festival. With additional support from the Knight Foundation, the annual outdoor spectacular, now known as the Detroit Jazz Festival, has expanded to become one of the world’s top jazz events.  Valade, affectionately called “Detroit’s Angel of Jazz,” died in December 2022.

The recent preview event announcing this year’s Festival lineup also gave a sneak peek at the new Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center nearing completion at Wayne State.  The Center is scheduled to fully open in the Fall of 2024 with Valade’s financial gifts totaling $9.5 million to fund jazz studies and performances at Wayne State.  In addition, the Center will include a main hall explicitly designed for jazz performances and a club-style venue. These two renovations and the existing performance spaces will be part of the Hilberry Gateway integrated performing arts complex for theatre, music, and dance at Wayne.

“I am so very grateful to Gretchen for her continuing generosity,” former Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said shortly after the start of the construction several years ago.    “Leading institutions of higher education like Wayne State must reaffirm their commitment to the arts and humanities. The Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center will send a strong signal of Wayne State’s support for excellence in the arts.”

About Post Author

From the Web

Skip to content