Drummer, composer, and bandleader Brian Blade is the artist-in-residence for this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival. The two-time Grammy Award winning musician is set to take center stage during the Labor Day weekend festivities. The 2024 festival will take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 in downtown Detroit.  

Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Blade grew from his gospel roots to becoming one of the most revered jazz drummers in the nation. As the 2024 artist-in-residence, Blade will participate in multiple performances and engage with educational initiatives and community outreach programs spearheaded by the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. 

Among the highlights of Blade’s residency was a special festival preview event at the Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center on the Wayne State University campus April 10 featuring a performance by Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band. Watch a portion of Blade’s performance here

Blade’s band, The Fellowship Band, includes a discography spanning 25 years, with seven critically acclaimed recordings. From their debut album in 1998 to the latest release, “Kings Highway” in 2023, Blade and his ensemble have consistently pushed the boundaries of jazz, captivating audiences worldwide with their innovative sound.

After a workshop at Wayne State University, Blade sat with John Penney of 90.9 WRCJ to discuss the journey that led him to play alongside some of those who greatly influenced his jazz career, such as Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell. Blade stresses the importance of musical influence and with the opportunity to run a workshop at Wayne State University, he aimed to pass on the same inspiration that fueled his own success.

Listen to their full, extended conversation on-demand on 90.9 WRCJ.

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