[JPL] ‘A Love Supreme’ is the theme of 2008 Detroit International Jazz Festival

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Thu Aug 21 17:25:25 EDT 2008


Sharing the ‘Love’

‘A Love Supreme’ is the theme of 2008 Detroit International Jazz Festival

By K. Michelle Moran
Arts & Entertainment Editor

DETROIT — Love will be in the air Labor Day weekend, when the Detroit 
International Jazz Festival honors the music of the Motor City and 
Philadelphia under the banner of “A Love Supreme.”

“I’m using the word ‘love’ (to describe) this (festival) a lot,” said 
festival Executive and Artistic Director Terri Pontremoli.

The 29th annual festival — which will take place Aug. 29-Sept. 1 in and 
around Hart Plaza — features dozens of jazz stars, including Dianne 
Reeves, Gerald Wilson Orchestra with special guest Kenny Burrell, Derek 
Trucks Band, Esperanza Spalding, Calvin Cooke, Robin Eubanks and many 
more. The artist-in-residence is Philadelphia native Christian McBride, 
an acclaimed bass player who’s performing with a number of groups, 
including during an opening-night tribute to Motown legend Marvin Gaye. 
Pontremoli — who called McBride “one of the pre-eminent bass players in 
the world” — expects that particular performance to be especially 
memorable, given McBride’s lifelong love of Motown music.

“I love it,” said Gretchen Carhartt Valade of Grosse Pointe Farms, a 
member of the festival advisory board and board of trustees, of the 
lineup. “Dianne Reeves, and (a ‘Battle of the Big Bands’ featuring) the 
Count Basie Orchestra vs. the Gerald Wilson Orchestra — it’s going to be 
great.”

Besides performances by individual artists, the festival features 
one-of-a-kind combinations of talent, such as Ravi Coltrane’s Tribute to 
Alice Coltrane featuring Geri Allen, Charlie Hayden, Jack DeJohnette and 
Brandee Younger. Ravi is the son of the late Detroit native, harpist and 
jazz pianist Alice Coltrane and her husband, late jazz great John Coltrane.

“When you get to create things that are unique and you won’t see 
anywhere else, that’s (exciting),” Pontremoli said.

Among the options for hungry jazz fans, Valade’s new restaurant, the 
Dirty Dog Jazz Café, will be closed over the Labor Day weekend so that 
the chef and staff can serve customers at the festival, where they’ll 
have sit-down dining in one of the tents. There are also special 
activities and entertainment for the kids, making the festival fun for 
the whole family.

For the first time in years, visitors will be able to purchase a 
souvenir program with exclusive articles that Pontremoli said also has 
blank pages for autograph-seekers. The intimacy of the festival means 
visitors often rub elbows with jazz giants.

Many of those same jazz greats spend part of the festival grooming the 
next generation of musicians, jamming with and speaking to students.

Pontremoli said the educational component of the festival has grown over 
the last several years, as well as becoming a year-round element.

More college, middle and high school bands than ever will be playing. 
Local school bands performing on the Jazz Garden Stage include the 
Fraser Middle School Jazz Band (2:30-3:15 p.m. Aug. 30), Grosse Pointe 
South High School Jazz Band (4:15-5 p.m. Aug. 31), St. Clair Shores’ 
Lakeshore High School Jazz Band (1-1:45 p.m. Aug. 31) and Kennedy Middle 
School Jazz Band (12-12:45 p.m. Aug. 31), Troy’s Boulan Park Middle 
School Jazz Band (11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Aug. 30), Utica’s Eppler Middle 
School Jazz Band (12:45-1:30 p.m. Aug. 30) and Warren Mott High School 
Jazz Band (12-12:45 p.m. Sept. 1).

“The music programs are very good,” Pontremoli said of local schools. 
“They’re holding up the tradition well.”

Unlike most jazz festivals of this caliber, the Detroit International 
Jazz Festival is free. To keep it that way, organizers have devised new 
fundraising efforts, such as a Rhythm Section club that donors can join 
to get premium reserved seats and other perks.

The festival has a positive impact on Detroit and the region in general. 
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, the event’s honorary chair, said 
the festival is expected to draw 753,000 people and generate about $90 
million in revenue. Pontremoli said roughly 25 percent of those who 
attend come from outside Michigan.

“It’s probably the happiest crowd I’ve ever seen,” Valade said. “It’s 
warm, inviting. Everyone gets along with each other; people talk to 
complete strangers. It’s just a great time.”

With the city hall scandal giving Detroit unwanted negative national 
attention, the festival couldn’t come at a more needed time, since 
Pontremoli said festival visitors get to see the city “in its best, most 
glorious light.”

“Last year, one of my friends from Cleveland came for the first time and 
he said, ‘I really think this heals the city every year,’ and I have to 
agree,” Pontremoli said. “This year more than any year, the festival is 
so important to the city.”

For schedules and more information, visit www.detroitjazzfest.com 
<http://www.detroitjazzfest.com/>.

-- 
Dr. Jazz
Dr. Jazz Operations
24270 Eastwood
Oak Park, MI  48237
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http://www.drjazz.com
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