Detroit Jazz Festival Announces Lineup for Labor Day Weekend


The Detroit Jazz Festival has announced more than 100 hometown artists will perform over Labor Day weekend on different stages set up in the central business district, including at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park.

The event will celebrate opening night with a jam session to honor George “Sax” Benson, a Detroit jazz saxophone soloist and educator, while the Mack Avenue Records Jam Session will begin at 11 p.m. in the Renaissance Ballroom at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

Benson taught generations of musicians from his home studio, Wayne State University, and the Detroit Wayne Music Studio, now part of the Detroit Saxophone Center, and will also be honored through The Legacy Series. The series will celebrate Benson’s artistry and mentorship and will showcase artists who are part of his legacy.

“The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is committed to the artists who have settled here, the ones who are from here, and the ones who represent and are living the legacy of the Detroit jazz scene,” says Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. “Year-round we get the opportunity to put Detroit’s depth of jazz talent in the spotlight through unique collaborative opportunities, our ongoing concert series, and, of course, the world’s largest free jazz festival.”

Other artists performing throughout the weekend will include:

  • McKinFolk – Gayelynn McKinney, Vincent Chandler, Dwight Adams, Marcus Elliot, Glenn Tucker, Marion Hayden and Michelle McKinney
  • Robert Hurst presents Black Current Jam – Ian Finkelstein, Rafael Statin, Pepe Espinosa, Brendan Asante and Nathaniel Winn
  • Michael Dease Quintet – Detroit ‘Bone Celebrating J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, & Frank Rosolino – Michael Dease, Sam Dillon, Rodney Whitaker and Keith Hall
  • Urban Transport Reunion – Sean Dobbins, Dean Moore, Joseph Diaz and Vincent Chandler
  • Vincent Bowens Organ Quartet – Perry Hughes, George Davison, Glenn Tucker and Vincent Bowens
  • The Music of Hank Mobley lyrics by George V. Johnson Jr. special guest Benny Golson – Vincent Bowens, John Douglas, Michael Malis, Marion Hayden and Gayelynn McKinney
  • Rodney Whitaker Quintet – Rodney Whitaker, Diego Rivera, Richard Roe, Rockelle Fortin and Kavon Gordon
  • The Ali Bey Quartet – Larry Andrew, Tim Stroud, Kasan Belgrave and Ali Bey
  • Sheila Landis Jazz – Shelia Landis, Rick Matle and John Lindberg
  • The Ron English Jazz Band – John Douglas, Dwight Adams, Davy Lazar, Dominic Bierenga, Jason Didia, Mark Kieme, Zen Zadravec, Jaribu Shahid, Renell Gonsalves and “Dr. Professor” Leonard King
  • Zen Zadravec Trio – Zen Zadravec, Dominic Bierenga, Rocco Popielarski and David Zwolinski
  • Marcus Elliot Quartet – Marcus Elliot, Michael Malis, Ben Rolston and Stephen Boegehold
  • Dreamers: The George “Sax” Benson Songbook – Glenn Tucker, Vincent York, Wendell Harrison, Vincent Bowens, Steve Wood, Marion Hayden and Renell Gonsalves
  • Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra
  • Two Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association High School Showcases
  • Detroit Public Schools Community District Showcase/All-City Jazz Combo
  • J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne All-Star Youth Combo
  • Wayne State University Big Band I with guest artist Rick Margitza
  • University of Michigan Combo Showcase
  • Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra I

“Booking artists is not an easy feat — especially in the Detroit region, which has an overwhelming number of phenomenal jazz players – and this year was no different,” adds Collins. “I think we have some really special collaborative and expressive performances coming from these artists and I can’t wait to see them play out.”

Additionally, the Detroit Jazz Festival will utilize the Detroit Jazz Fest Live app, which allows those unable to attend the festival to livestream performances on mobile devices for $10. The app’s other features, including maps, event details, artist bios, and more are available at no cost.

Detroit Jazz Festival Live is available here and at the Google Play Store, and via the Apple App store soon.