The lineup for the 2015 edition of the Detroit Jazz Festival was announced this week. I am always like a kid in a candy shop when news about the Jazz Fest comes out. I have made a point of spending as much time as possible every Labor Day Weekend at the Festival since my first trip in 1986. I have been introduced to new artists, heard music legends play, been sunburned to a crisp, and caught in the vicious thunderstorm that was the only time a set was cancelled in the history of the festival. Rain or shine, I have been there.
This year’s Artist in Residence was announced as Pat Metheny, the jazz guitar legend. He is featured in four different settings over the course of the weekend. I was in attendance in 2012 for the set with the Pat Metheny Unity Band, and I can tell you that performance was deadly! The album of the same name won a Grammy Award in 2013. The performance was at the Cadillac Square Main stage, and the huge audience spilled over to fill the adjacent Campus Martius Park. The large elevated video screens were put to good use for the audience in the back, but the sound was great for blocks. I bet even the people eating coney dogs at National and American Coney Island restaurants were able to enjoy the energy.
No one was disappointed by the music of the Unity Band. It remains one of the most frequently played albums in my collection to this day. I relish the opportunity this September to hear more than one set by Metheny. It should be a gig to remember!
On the list of performers, a number of names stand out to me. To begin, Ron Carter is a musician not to be missed. Arturo Sandoval brings his trumpet fire and showmanship to the weekend. The Maria Schneider Orchestra is one of the most creative large groups to be heard today. Local born saxophone favorite Kenny Garrett is bringing his quintet to the festival, as well as Detroit born James Carter who teams up with Steve Turre for a tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk. (You can bet that someone is going to play two saxophones at once on that set!).
The 2015 Detroit Jazz Festival this year is set for September 4-7. Last year I was able to write daily about my adventures, and with any luck I will be able to repeat that effort this year. Best of all, attendance at the festival is, and has always been, FREE. Come enjoy the view of the Detroit River, the food, and some of the best music in the world. Who knows, you may find yourself sitting next to one of your favorite bloggers! 🙂