[JPL] Detroit International Jazz Festival thoughts

Bobby Jackson ftapache1 at sbcglobal.net
Wed Sep 6 00:42:17 EDT 2006

Hi Blaise and everyone on JPL,

It was great to see you and your co-worker in Detroit!  What a fabulous 
festival!  Frank Malfitano, Terri Pontremoli, Dr. Jazz and the rest were 
wonderful hosts and it always seems that Detroit puts on its best 
face!during Labor Day.   Despite some inclimate weather on Saturday I just 
thought to myself, "a rainy day at the Detroit International Jazz Festival 
beats a sunny day in Cleveland or just about anywhere for that matter any 
day of the year."  First of all, it is impossible to see everything but I 
was on my horse with my family the entire time I was there (and sore every 
morning from all the walking :-)

I missed Friday nights acts with the Funk Brothers and Temptations due to a 
major accident that backed up traffic for miles on I-90 heading to the Motor 
City but I made up for that for the remainder of my time there.  We started 
Saturday morning with Blaise, Howard Mandel and his daughter Rosie, WWOZ's 
Dwayne Brashears and his co-worker Chris to head to the Motown Museum.  Very 
special trip and well worth the visit for those who are Motown records fans. 
It drizzled most of the day (the first time that's really happened in all 
the years I've gone) but it did little to dampen my spirits.  It was good to 
hang out with Rodney Whitaker and family, Marion Hayden and family, 
Warmdaddy Anderson and family, Bob Bobbing (Jaco Pastorious' childhood 
friend), Bill Milkowski, Linda Yohn, The Good Dr., Dorthaan Kirk, Lois 
Gilbert, Shahida and family, Sean Jones, Gretchen Valade, Denny and Ken from 
Mack Avenue, Dr. Lonnie "The Turbanator" Smith, Lou Donaldson, Jeff Bersen, 
Dave Love and family, Ilona Knopfler and I know I'm going to leave someone 
off this list (sorry)  The hang was as important as the music as many of you 
know about attending these festivals.

The fact that it was all free (100 acts over seven stages and a riverboat) 
makes this festival especially great.  Everyone is welcome and the cross 
section of people was amazing to witness as well.  I saw nothing but smiles 
all weekend.  There was an instrument petting zoo where kids could have some 
hands on experience,  there was a talk tent where musicians such as Mose 
Allison were interviewed (BTW, great job Tony Mowatt!) and Detroit music 
history was shared and discussed by local historians.  Food vendors and 
booths selling artifacts of every description made for a very vibrant and 
festive downtown Detroit. There was even an event where the Food Network was 

Personal highlights musically for me began with The Brazil stage which was 
off the hook!   Sergio Mendes was a burst of Sunshine that evening along 
with Shahida Nurullah (thanks for the shout out from the stage Shahida!), 
Brasil Brasil and Oscar Castro-Neves.  The fireworks display was perhaps the 
finest and certainly the longest I've ever seen in my life!  It would 
crescendo like it was going to end and then it started all over again.  Wow! 
Fans of big bands were treated to amazing performances by Gerald Wilson's 
big band, Jaco Pastorius Big Band conducted by Peter Graves and featuring 
two wild men in Will Lee and his twin brother Hiram Bullock (smile), the 
Detroit Princess riverboat was rocking as it went up and down the Detroit 
River w/ Rodney Whitaker's students orchestra from Michigan State.  Sean 
Jones was not only eloquent with his horn but also with his impassioned 
words from the stage.  It really put the proper spin and perspective on his 
latest Mack Avenue recording.  He serenaded Gretchen Valade from the stage 
with happy birthday which indeed was worthy of calling a highlight of the 
evening.  Ahmad Jamal.............would you have me say more?  I caught part 
of Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers which brought back fond memories of the 
sounds I heard coming up in my hometown of The "Boogie Down" Bronx.

Thank you Dr. Jazz for the great brunch on Sunday at Alexander Zonjic's 
restaurant in the Marriott "Seldom Blues."  Between you and Frank Malfitano 
there have not been a better host.

Finally, I'd like to say something about Carhartt clothing heiress Gretchen 
Valade.  Last year she saved the festival when she took over the place of 
Ford Motor company as the festivals title sponsor through her Mack Avenue 
records label.  She upped the ante with her gift of 10 million dollars to 
the festival.  I had the opportunity to interview her this year.  The thing 
I realize about Gretchen and her family is that they have always been in 
service of regular working class people from 1890 when her grandfather 
created durable work clothing for farmers, railroad and steel workers to the 
hip hop youth of today who adorn themselves with their line of clothing 
world wide.  The symbiosis is remarkable and notable.  Here she is in 2006 
supporting a music that basically originated from working class people.  It 
is an uncommon act that has great nobility.  She will be quick to tell you 
that the festival belongs to the people of Detroit, but it wouldn't exist 
without her gracious benevolence.  I know she realizes her fortunes are 
directly tied to regular working class people.  She has given much to the 
city of Detroit by championing its jazz community in a big way.  It would be 
great to see others with her resources step up to the plate and contribute. 
Living in Cleveland and seeing how we struggle to keep jazz alive I can't 
help but think about the people like Peter B. Lewis among others who could 
do the same easily.  Detroit is lucky to have her and she is lucky to have 
Detroit.  It's a beautiful thing.  I am a witness.


Bobby Jackson

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Blaise Lantana" <blaise.lantana at riomail.maricopa.edu>
To: "'Jazz Programmers Mailing List'" <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 9:36 PM
Subject: RE: [JPL] Diana Krall/Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra???

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> It seems to me that I always have my magnifying glass out to see who is
> playing what on what cut on a CD.  And I think my tired old eyes are only
> part of the problem.  Promotion has always focused on the "star" or front
> guys from pop to jazz.  I just got back from Detroit and the Motown museum
> and thought about how long it took before any of the players, like the 
> Funk
> Brothers, got recognition for the work they did creating that sound.
> Just as a suggestion, if anyone wanted to add a radio friendly sticker or
> insert for programmers with who is playing what, that would be a nice
> gesture and including the cut number and time is of course always useful. 
> I
> don't expect radio to be the main priority of a release, but it's nice 
> when
> the label or promoter considers our needs and gives us a little help. 
> That
> way I can give out some of that info when I play the tune.
> Magical magnifying,
> Blaise Lantana
> Music Director
> KJZZ Phoenix
> 91.5 Fm
> KJZZ.org
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