This Week on One Detroit:

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

Get ready to groove to the rhythm of jazz as the 44th 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.  

One Detroit contributor and “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.  

Plus, the official Detroit Jazz Festival poster gets unveiled by Ward. She shares stories about 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.

Karriem Riggins announced as Detroit Jazz Festival artist-in-residence with lineup of local jazz masters

The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has announced its lineup for the annual Labor Day weekend festival in downtown Detroit. Headlining the festival will be three Detroit jazz legends, violinist Regina Cartersaxophonist Kenny Garrett and drummer Louis Hayes, all of whom recently received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

The festival also introduced the Detroit-native jazz drummer and hip-hop producer Karriem Riggins as this year’s artist-in-residence. The renowned drummer will spend the summer participating in educational and community activities as part of his residency, leading up to his performance at the 2023 Detroit Jazz Festival. 

Riggins sat down with 90.9 WRCJ’s John Penney, the host of JazzFest Detroit, after hosting a master class for Wayne State University music students to talk about what it means to be introduced as the artist-in-residence for his hometown jazz festival and what he’s preparing for the Labor Day weekend performance. Plus, they talk about jazz gatekeepers and how Riggins has blended his love for multiple genres into a unique sound of his own; how today’s jazz students are evolving the genre; the mentor that pushed him to find his voice in the music; and what he hopes to achieve as a prolific musician.

One Detroit Weekend: September 1, 2023

Labor Day weekend is here! Here’s what you can do around Detroit: The Michigan State Fair makes it return to Suburban Collection Showplace, and the Detroit Jazz Festival kicks off at Campus Martius and Hart Plaza. Plus, you can head over to Arts, Beats & Eats in downtown Royal Oak, or if you’re up for venturing up north, check out the Mackinac Bridge’s annual Labor Day Walk. 

Check out everything you can do around town this weekend and into next week on “One Detroit Weekend” with contributors Cecelia Sharpe and Dave Wagner of 90.9 WRCJ.

List of upcoming events: 

  • Kick off the unofficial end of summer with a visit to the Michigan State Fair at Suburban Collection Showplace Aug. 31 – Sept. 4. The fair will feature carnival rides, live music, livestock, the Shrine Circus, and tons more through Labor Day.  
  • The 44th annual Detroit Jazz Festival returns to Campus Martius and Hart Plaza Sept. 1-4, featuring a host of Detroit musicians like artist-in-residence Karriem Riggins and National Endowment for the Arts 2023 Jazz Masters Regina Carter, Kenny Garrett and Louis Hayes. 
  • Celebrate the best of Oakland County’s art, music and food scenes at the flagship Arts, Beats & Eats festival in downtown Royal Oak. The festival will host art vendors, more than 200 bands, a Zumba class, a food drive and several other activities throughout the weekend. 
  • Take in the works of Detroit artist Sydney G. James through her “Girl Raised in Detroit” exhibit at the Musem of Contemporary Art Detroit through Sept. 3. James’ artwork can also be seen around Detroit at places like the Eastern Market murals.  
  • Headed up north for the Labor Day weekend? Get your steps in at the Mackinac Bridge’s annual Labor Day Walk. Walkers can start their journey across the straits of Mackinac between 7-11:30 a.m. Sept. 4.  
  • If you’re looking for a space to play live music with others, join Aretha’s Jazz Jam at 7 p.m. Sept. 3. Jazz fans and musicians of any instrument and experience level can come listen, eat, drink, play, sing or all the above.  
  • Celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip hop this year, the Aretha Franklin Ampitheatre presents Waka Flocka Flame with special guests Rich Homie Quan, Travis Porter, F.L.Y., OJ da Juiceman and Rocko. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 1; doors open at 7 p.m. the day of the show.  
  • See life through the lens of Detroit’s youth with photographer Elonte Davis’ “This Is Where I’m At” exhibit at the Carr Center through Sept. 2. The multi-media exhibit features 65 candid photos that capture the everyday moments of Detroit’s youth. 

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 

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

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