This Week on American Black Journal:

44th Detroit Jazz Festival to feature NEA Jazz Masters performances, tribute to Gretchen Valade

Get ready to groove to the rhythm of jazz as the 44th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, considered the world’s largest, free jazz festival, returns to downtown Detroit this Labor Day weekend. Against the backdrop of the city’s iconic skyline, this year’s festival promises to be a celebration of the genre’s rich history with performances from a spectacular lineup of world-class musicians, as well as a tribute to the genre’s unsung heroes and its enduring influence on the cultural tapestry of Detroit. 

“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson sits down with Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation, and Brittini Ward, the artist who created this year’s official Jazz Festival poster. Collins talks about some of the world-class performers in the lineup, including the three 2023 NEA Jazz Masters, all from Detroit: violinist Regina Carter, drummer Louis Hayes, and saxophonist Kenny Garrett.

He also speaks about the special opening night tribute to the late Gretchen C. Valade, who was instrumental in the preservation of the Detroit Jazz Festival and its Foundation, and he gives an update on the huge renovation of the jazz center named for Valade that’s located in the Hilberry Theatre on Wayne State University’s campus. 

Then, in what has become an “American Black Journal” annual tradition, the official Detroit Jazz Festival poster is unveiled by Ward. She shares stories on how members of her family were the inspiration behind the poster’s artwork and explains how she came up with the idea for the imagery. She also speaks to the influence of music and art on her life and creativity as a visual artist, spoken word poet and singer. 

2023 Detroit Jazz Festival Rocket Mortgage artist-in-residence preview performance

This year, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has selected jazz drummer, hip-hop producer and Detroit native Karriem Riggins as the 2023 Rocket Mortgage artist-in-residence. The renowned drummer has spent the summer participating in educational and community activities as part of his residency, leading up to his performances at the 2023 Detroit Jazz Festival.  

“American Black Journal” closes out the episode with a performance from Riggins, recorded earlier this year at the festival’s official preview event. 

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.