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Detroit Jazz Festival

Yusef Lateef Returns for 2007 Detroit Jazz Fest

Yusef Lateef is arguably Detroit’s greatest gift to the world of jazz. The master saxophonist was recently added to the lineup for the Detroit Jazz Fest August 31 – September 3. The festival features a number of other Detroiters who left the Motor City for greener pastures on the coasts: violinist Regina Carter, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, arranger Gerald Wilson, trombonist Curtis Fuller, drummer Louis Hayes, and bassist Ron Carter. Other headliners this year include pianists Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, Bill Charlap, and Kenny Barron; fusion artists like Medeski/Martin/Wood paired with guitarist John Scofield; the big bands of Clayton-Hamilton and Charles Tolliver; the Latin sounds of Pancho Sanchez and Conrad Herwig; and the more daring sounds of clarinetist Don Byron and percussionist Kahil El’Zabar. All this talent can be seen for free, which is one of the distinguishing features of the Detroit festival.

Regina Carter is the Artist In Residence of the festival and will appear in a number of settings: with her own quintet, in a duo with veteran Kenny Barron, and with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. She will tell us more about her artistry when she visits the Jazz Talk Tent.

This year’s festival continues the expansion up Woodward Avenue started a few years ago. A second larger stage (the Chase Stage) has been added east of the stage at Campus Martius (now called the Garden Stage), which will instead become the major venue for middle, high school, and college bands. The Ford Here and Now Stage on Woodward Avenue will also feature some school bands and emerging artists.

Educational activities are more widespread this year than ever. SEMJA is taking part by supporting jazz study scholarships for outstanding soloists among the High School bands. Adjudicators from the Michigan chapter of the IAJE (the International Association of Jazz Educators) will identify these soloists. These adjudicators are donating their time to the IAJE. SEMJA will also have a booth at Hart Plaza, staffed by our band of volunteers. Other educational activities include improvisation workshops by a quintet from Juilliard and a Kid Bop Area.

The Ponchartrain Hotel will make a comeback as a veunue with jam sessions on its 25th floor on Friday and Saturday starting at 11:00 p.m. and dancing to Orquesta Sensacional on Sunday night. SEMJA's detailed performance schedule for the seven stages at Hart Plaza and up Woodward Avenue can be found here.

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Southeastern Michigan
Jazz Association


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