Billed as A Love Supreme: The Philly/Detroit Summit, the 2008 festival will celebrate the storied jazz and soul traditions of these two great American cities. "I enjoy the challenge of designing the festival lineup around a theme," says executive and artistic director Terri Pontremoli. Philly/Detroit, jazz, and soul will be represented on opening night, which features Dianne Reeves, whose new Blue Note Records CD When You Know gives a nod to Motown's Temptations. A Philly/Detroit jazz tribute to Marvin Gaye, curated and arranged by Christian McBride, will also bow that evening. McBride will present his own unique takes on Gaye's material with a big band of stellar Detroit-based musicians backing R&B vocalists Lalah Hathaway and Rahsaan Patterson. Joining the two veteran singers will be up-and-coming jazz vocalist Jose James.
Throughout the weekend, legendary artists from Detroit and Philly will include Hank Jones, Gerald Wilson (both turning 90 this year), Barry Harris, Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath. A gamut of guitar stylists will be showcased over three days with appearances by Stanley Jordan, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Derek Trucks, Calvin Cooke, Grant Green Jr., and Mike Stern. But guitars won't be the only things that slide - trombones will also take center stage with appearances by Robin Eubanks, Slide Hampton, Bonerama, Trombone Shorty and the University of Michigan Jazz Trombone Choir.
A battle of the bands between the Count Basie and Gerald Wilson Orchestras promises to leave the audience breathless by the end of the night. Both bands will be on stage at the same time, along with GRAMMY award-winning singer Nnenna Freelon, Detroit legend Kenny Burrell, and other special guests (to be announced). The Dizzy Gillespie TM All-Star Jazz Band, with James Moody, Jimmy Heath, and Slide Hampton, will close out the festival on Labor Day, along with sensational vocalist Roberta Gambarini. A Saturday Night Fish Fry will feature masters of the Hammond B-3 with Reuben Wilson's Godfathers of Groove, Robin Eubanks + EB3, and Joey DeFrancesco with Karriem Riggins and Christian McBride. A tribute to Alice Coltrane, led by her son Ravi, will feature jazz giants Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, and Detroit's own Geri Allen.
Classic jazz will be served up by Kenny Barron, Ted Nash, Roy Hargrove and a myriad of regional artists, while new music offerings include ICP Orchestra, Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey and Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts. Alexander Zonjic will cross over Philly and Detroit with native Philly artists Jeff Lorber and Doc Gibbs and special guest Maysa and the Motor City Horns. GRAMMY-nominated Artistry /Mack Avenue bassist Brian Bromberg will be joined by Philly trumpeter Randy Brecker. Col. Bruce Hampton & The Quark Alliance will boast their brand of surreal funk. Dee Dee Sharpe will perform in a tribute to the Philly Sound and the achievements of R&B pioneers Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, who are celebrating five decades in the music industry, along with their recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The newly located Here & Now Stage will again feature emerging talents such as twenty-somethings pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Esperanza Spalding, The Hot Club of Detroit and the surprisingly six-foot Trombone Shorty.
Detroit International Jazz Festival will continue to encourage young talent not only by inviting college and high school ensembles to showcase, but by giving them opportunities to perform with jazz veterans. The Wayne State University Big Band will perform the "Book of Heath" with Jimmy Heath; Temple University Big Band will perform with Benny Golson; Michigan State University will perform the works of Thad Jones with trumpet legend Jon Faddis. Other visiting schools include the Berklee (Boston) Jazz Ensemble, the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet, and the Juilliard Jazz Quintet. And back by popular demand are the KidBop area and Arts & Scraps for the wee-boppers.
The Jazz Talk Tent will be full of stories, with Christian McBride, Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Barry Harris, Hank Jones, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, James Moody and Slide Hampton. Topics will range from the B3's role in blues to Detroit/Philly histories, the impact of John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie, discussions of Marvin Gaye, Gamble & Huff, Motown, and yes, sports.
"Detroit International Jazz Festival was voted one of the top five festivals in the U.S. in the January 2008 JazzTimes Reader's Poll," says Pontremoli. "The musicians will be having wonderful reunions, and the great Detroit audience, which always amazes me, will play a huge role in the brotherly love vibe."
Detroit International Jazz Festival is now the largest, free jazz festival in North America, attracting upwards of 750,000 people. It has become a major tourist attraction, with 25% of its audience coming from out of state. The festival has a significant economic impact on Detroit and showcases the city in the most positive light. The festival has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Jazz Masters, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), and the Kresge Foundation. Major corporate sponsors include Chase, MGM Casino, Motor City Casino, Carhartt and Absopure. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is the official hotel of the 29th Annual Detroit International Jazz Festival.
For more information, including festival updates and details on how to become a member, visit www.detroitjazzfest.com.