The 30th Anniversary of the Detroit International Jazz Festival | Sept 4th – 7th, 2009

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30th Anniversary of the Detroit International Jazz Festival Announces Complete Lineup and Sponsors



Two world premieres, two tributes, two debuts, two tap dancers and one DownBeat Blindfold Test

DETROIT, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ —
Today, festival organizers announced the complete lineup and sponsors
for the 30th Anniversary of the Detroit International Jazz Festival
(DJF), Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7, in downtown

Subtitled “Keepin’ Up with the Joneses,” the 2009 Detroit
Jazz Fest will celebrate Thad, Elvin and Hank Jones and other great
jazz families, including The Clayton Brothers, the Brubecks, John &
Bucky Pizzarelli, Larry & Julian Coryell, the Heath Brothers, Pete
& Juan Escovedo, Brian, Karma & Savannah Auger, Detroit’s
McKinneys, and the Clark Sisters. Homecomings include visits by Sheila
Jordan, Geri Allen, Louis Hayes, Charles McPherson, Bennie Maupin,
Karriem Riggins and Dee Dee Bridgewater. “It’s a combination of a
family reunion and special homecoming for Detroit jazz greats,” says
executive director Terri Pontremoli.

Opening Night

Fans will not want to miss the opening night festivities.
Starting with a rare appearance by Hank Jones in the Pepsi Talk Tent at
4:15pm, the festival will “beat the drum” with the Alma College
36-member Percussion Ensemble on the Chase Stage at 4:30pm; look back
30 years through a reunion of the Northwestern High School 1980 Alumni
Band on the Meijer Education Stage at 5:30, and move the crowds through
a second-line by the Nicky Boy Band and the Cleveland Museum of Art
DIVA puppets. Performances by the Hank Jones Trio and Chick Corea’s
Trio with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White will top off the evening. “We
urge the public to come early not only to get a seat, but to witness
special presentations and a celebratory opening night video,” says
Terri Pontremoli.

The Weekend

The festival will premiere two major works on its 30th
anniversary: “Detroit” – a six movement work for jazz orchestra by
Detroiter Gerald Wilson; and “T H E Family, Detroit,” a three-movement
work dedicated to Thad, Hank and Elvin Jones, by 2009 artist in
residence John Clayton. The “concerto grosso,” funded by the Joyce
Foundation, will be performed on closing night by the Scott Gwinnell
Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. “It is thrilling to me
that both composers have championed Detroit and its rich jazz legacy
through their music,” says festival director Terri Pontremoli. “Now
that I’ve heard the pieces, I can’t wait to see the audience reaction.
They’re both awesome and unique.”

Two tributes to important Detroit jazz musicians include: A treatment of Detroit trumpeter Donald Byrd’s jazz-gospel recording A New Perspective
– which also gives a festival nod to Blue Note on their 70th and
showcases Mack Avenue artists Sean Jones, Tia Fuller, Ron Blake and
Rodney Whitaker. They’ll be joined by Perry Hughes, Rick Roe, Chris
Kodish, Randy Gelispie, Chris Karlic, and a 16-piece gospel choir. The
performance will be a part of the festival’s traditional Come Monday
gospel programming. Detroit’s incomparable Lyman Woodard will also be
tributed in a B3 blow out with Chris Codish, Ron English and Leonard

Debuts include the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra with
special guests Janis Siegel, Jimmy Heath and Ron Blake; and the Midwest
debut of Bennie Maupin’s Dolphyana, with Billy Hart, Jay Hoggard and Nester Torres.

Other one-of-a-kind presentations include a 100th
birthday celebration for Benny Goodman by clarinetist extraordinaire
Eddie Daniels and the WSU Big Band; Bottoms Up!, a “superbass”
performance by John Clayton, Christian McBride and Rodney Whitaker; DJ
Pete Rock with Karriem Riggins; and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut as a
fourth instrument in Geri Allen’s quartet. Outside of jazz, audiences
will be treated to appearances by soul queen Irma Thomas, Booker T,
Detroit’s own gospel sister act, The Clark Sisters, and Motown’s very
own Contours featuring Sylvester Potts.

Emerging artists in 2009 include vocalist Gretchen
Parlato (2004 Thelonious Monk award winner); Alfredo Rodriquez, the
stellar pianist recently discovered by Quincy Jones; vocalist Sachal
Vasadani; and vocalist Jose James, who blew the audience away in 2008
as a special guest in the Marvin Gaye tribute.


DJF continues to encourage young talent not only by
presenting college and high school ensembles, but by having them
perform with jazz veterans. The Wayne State Big Band will be joined by
clarinetist Eddie Daniels, and Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra
will perform with Dee Dee Bridgewater. The Detroit Symphony’s Civic
Jazz Orchestra will play with Christian McBride, the Brubeck Institute
will be joined by Gerald Clayton, and through a grant from the Erb
Foundation, Gerald Clayton and Sean Dobbins have worked with the
Detroit School of Arts Jazz Ensemble throughout the summer and will
perform with them at the festival. Western Michigan University’s jazz
ensemble will team up with vibraphonist Stefon Harris. Visiting
colleges include the Berklee (Boston) College of Music, North Carolina
Central University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan
University and Juilliard. Detroit Jazz Fest continues its partnership
with MSBOA by showcasing outstanding Michigan high school jazz
ensembles. And back by popular demand is the KidBop area, presented by
Meijer and Nintendo Wii, for the wee-boppers and their parents, with
stories, songs and yes, a tap dancer!

The Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent will be full of laughs and
stories, but with two historic additions: one session with Wayne
Shorter and his biographer Michelle Mercer, and a live DownBeat
Blindfold Test hosted by Dan Ouellette with Charles McPherson in the
hot seat. There is a great deal of pressure on the artist for the
Blindfold Test, but it is great fun for the audience. Other guests in
the talk tent include Christian McBride, Bennie Maupin, Louis Hayes, TS
Monk, Eddie Daniels and Sheila Jordan. Topics will range from
remembering Cannonball to discussing the genius of Elvin Jones, Eric
Dolphy, Donald Byrd, and the special piano trademark of Detroit.

Fundraising and Special Programs

Being socially and environmentally conscious, Detroit
Jazz Fest is beginning a greening program through the auspices of DTE
Energy, which allows the festival to have 20 recycling bins for guests
to easily recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans and bottles. Due to
the growing need for food, a food drive is also being made possible by
Meijer to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank. “We hope that each and
every fan will donate canned goods at the festival – this will really
make a difference for those in need,” says Scott Seling, group vice
president of operations for Meijer’s East Region.

Perhaps some of the most exciting news is the building
momentum in fundraising and sponsorships. In one of the toughest
economic climates, the festival has exceeded its goals for ’09 and
broken past fundraising records. “The Jazz Guardian Campaign (the
festival’s first annual giving campaign), and the Rhythm Section
membership drive are demonstrating that individuals recognize the
significance of the festival more than ever and are willing to step up
to the plate to ensure its future as a free event,” says Pontremoli.

Further, the festival has garnered a record-breaking
number of sponsors from $2,500 to $100,000. Returning major sponsors
include: Chase, Mack Ave. Records, Absopure, Carhartt, Budweiser,
Pepsi, DTE Energy Foundation, Fox 2, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit
and V98.7FM. New sponsors include Meijer, Nintendo Wii, Citizens Bank,
DTE Energy, Delta Sky Miles, Baja Smoothies, Solaire, Seldom Blues and

In addition, the festival has been recognized by national
foundations: the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Jazz Masters
Live, and the Joyce Foundation. The festival is at the end of a
three-year grant from the Kresge Foundation, and has been newly granted
by the Erb Foundation. Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs
has supported the festival for the past two years.

“I believe the reasons for financial growth are many,”
says Terri Pontremoli. “We have only been an independent non-profit
since 2006, and it takes time to nurture and develop relationships. Our
integrity and product is solid, and public relations professional Peggy
Goodwin takes really good care of our sponsors and donors. Our local,
national and international reputation is great. The fans – all those
happy listeners we see year after year – are beginning to understand
the notion of grass roots support and being part-owners of this really
special festival.”

The festival has been celebrating its 30th anniversary since February through its series, Another Great Day in Detroit.
Through collaborations with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African
American History, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne State
University, Detroit Institute of Arts, Midsummer Nights in Midtown, the
Guardian Building, the Rowland Cafe, Baker’s and Cliff Bells, the
festival has been treating Detroit music lovers, showcasing Detroit
musicians, teaching youngsters and building momentum toward the
blow-out Labor Day Weekend.

For more information, including festival updates and details on how to

become a Jazz Fest guardian or member of the Rhythm Section, visit

The Detroit International Jazz Festival is
the largest free jazz festival in North America. It has become a major
tourist attraction, with 23% of its audience coming from out of state.
It has a $90M economic impact on Detroit and showcases the city in its
most positive light. The festival has received support from the
National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural
Affairs (MCACA), the Joyce Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the
Erb Family Foundation. Major corporate sponsors include Chase, Mack
Avenue Records, Absopure, Carhartt, DTE Energy Foundation, Meijer,
Citizens Bank, Delta Sky Miles, MGM Grand Detroit, Jackson’s Five Star
Catering, Detroit Medical Center, Solaire, Pepsi, Wayne County, Saturn,
Budweiser, Nintendo Wii, Baja Smoothies, Greater Detroit Landscape Co.,
Splendid Plates, Detroit Free Press, Damon’s Grill, Compuware, American
Laser Centers, Great Lakes Fireworks, Seldom Blues, Comcast and
Fox 2.
Media sponsors include WDET, WEMU, WRCJ, WBGO, AM580, Smooth Jazz
V98.7, CBS Outdoor, Hour Detroit/dBusiness, Jacobs Media, MetroTimes,
Jazztimes Magazine, Downbeat Magazine, In addition,
there is a growing base of individual support.

Detroit International Jazz Festival

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