[JPL] Detroit Jazz Fest: Greats grouped by genre, so you won't run yourself ragged

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Thu Aug 28 09:37:16 EDT 2008

  Jazz aficionado highlights
Greats grouped by genre, so you won't run yourself ragged


By *W. Kim Heron* 

The Detroit International Jazz Fest, in its current manifestation, is so 
laden with major attractions that it's difficult to cull a must-see 
list. What seemed a reasonably big fest a few years ago has undergone a 
sort of big bang. So consider these just a few diverse suggestions, from 
major offerings to curios.

Major tributes*

*Ravi Coltrane's Tribute to Alice* Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Carhartt 
Amphitheatre: Pianist-harpist Alice Coltrane added the spiritual aura to 
husband John's final musical years and continued on that path in her own 
musical explorations. Their son Ravi recruits pianist Geri Allen and two 
of his mother's musical confidants, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer 
Jack DeJohnette, plus harp, tabla and tamboura.

*Tribute to Donald Walden* Sunday, 5:30 p.m., Mack Avenue Records 
Pyramid Stage: Bassist Marion Hayden anchored the extraordinary 
saxophonist Walden's final group, Free Radicals. Here, she reconvenes 
members of that outfit and brings in musicians who collaborated on key 
Walden projects in the past: Pianists Geri Allen and Barry Harris, and 
saxophonist Charles McPherson.

*The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band* Monday, 8:45 p.m., Carhartt 
Amphitheatre: The all-star designation is not taken lightly. Musical 
direction by Slide Hampton; James Moody, Jimmy Heath and Antonio Hart 
are among the saxophones; Claudio Roditi and Roy Hargrove among the 
trumpets. Plus up-and-coming vocalist Roberta Gambarini.


*Jimmy Heath and the Wayne State University Big Band* Sunday, 2 p.m., 
Carhartt Amphitheatre; *Heath Brothers Quartet* (with Tootie Heath), 
Monday, 7:30 p.m., Absopure Waterfront Stage: "Trane was always high on 
Jimmy's playing, and so was I," said the late Miles Davis. The buzz need 
not be solely for connoisseurs, though.

*Benny Golson Quartet* Sunday, 6 p.m., Absopure Waterfront Stage; 
*Temple University Jazz Band, directed by Terrell Stafford, featuring 
Benny Golson* Monday, 4:15 p.m., Carhartt Amphitheatre: One of the most 
noted jazz composers and (beyond serious fans) a much underrated 
saxophonist. He promises "I Remember Clifford" and plenty more hits with 
the quartet.

*Barry Harris Trio* Monday, 5:15 p.m., Absopure Waterfront Stage: The 
sage to a generation of Detroit musicians, he's distilled bop to an 
essence. With Rodney Whitaker on bass and Lewis Nash on drums.

Make It Funky Now*

*Swiss Movement Revisited: Javon Jackson Band with Les McCann* Saturday, 
4:45 p.m., Carhartt Amphitheatre: Inviting comparisons to the original 
version of the classic "Compared to What."

*Latin Jazz All Stars: A Tribute to Hilton Ruiz and Mario Rivera;* 
Saturday, 9:15 p.m.: Pianist-leader Ruiz and saxophonist-sideman Rivera 
are remembered by heavy-hitters in their league, including pianist 
Arturo O'Farrill, trombonist Steve Turre and timbale wizard Pete (father 
of Sheila E) Escovedo.

*Spangler & O'Donnell Planet D Nonet* Sunday, 5 p.m., Chase Mainstage: 
They'll reach back to the old school's old school's old school with a 
tribute to Detroiter Paul Williams' 1948 "The Hucklebuck." At 4:30 p.m. 
on Saturday in the Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent, Spangler, producer-commentator 
Bob Porter, jazz historian Jim Gallert and Detroit saxophonist George 
Benson will discuss the proto-rock 'n' roll classic and its enduring 
impact. (Jazz Tent talks on topics from Motown to organ jazz run 
throughout the festival. See deroitjazzfesti.com.)

*Derek Trucks Band* Monday, 6 p.m., Chase Mainstage: One of the most 
talked about guitarists to hit the scene in years builds on the legacy 
his dad Butch Trucks started in the Allman Brothers Band.

You heard their discs, now ... *

*Kenny Garrett Quartet* Sunday, 7:15 p.m., Carhartt Amphitheatre: Some 
cuts on his last disc, /Beyond the Wall/, paired him with guest 
saxophonist Pharoah Sanders; Garrett came through the maelstrom standing 
taller rather than blown away.

*Hot Club of Detroit with special guest Kruno* Sunday, 7:15 p.m., Here & 
Now Stage: Their sophomore disc, /Night Town/, marked them as a growing 
group, working to ensure that their Django proclivities don't end up 
pigeonholing them. This gig adds Philly gypsy guitarist Kruno.

*Gerald Cleaver* Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Mack Avenue Pyramid Stage: The 
drummer is one of the current crop of Detroiters making a big stir on 
mostly small labels out of New York and beyond --- but too rarely heard 
back home. Featuring the horns of J.D. Allen, Jeremy Pelt and Andrew Bishop.

*James Carter Septet* Monday, 6:30 p.m., Carhartt Amphitheatre: With a 
larger group than usual, saxophonist James Carter channels ever more 
raucous (and rockin') energy into his act. That's the way it worked out 
on his recent disc, /Present Tense/, ripping the seams of conventional 
song form in Carterian fashion. Expect no less live.

Off the beaten path *

*Ted Nash Quartet*;* Mancini Project* Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Absopure 
Waterfront Stage: The saxophonist-flutist's recent disc, /The Mancini 
Project,/ gives the slightest nod to Mancini's broad humor (no "Pink 
Panther," less than two minutes of "Baby Elephant Walk" and "A Shot in 
the Dark") to concentrate what's wistful, moody and the romantic in his 

*ICP Orchestra* Monday 3:15 p.m., Mack Avenue Pyramid Stage: While the 
reverential Coltrane legacy gets attention in this festival, other 
streams of the avant-garde are largely ignored. One exception is the 
31-year-old little-big band representing a peculiarly Dutch free-jazz 
ethos (full-name: Instant Composers Pool) not so much led as /herded/ by 
pianist Misha Mengelberg. Original drummer Han Bennink is a fount of 
percussive wackness.

*Cyro Baptista and Beat the Donkey* Monday, 5:45 p.m., Here & Now Stage: 
Speaking of percussive wackness, there's also Brazilian Baptista's 
outfit, apt to throw into the mix anything from doo-wop to dynamite (or 
at least the odd power tool).

*W. Kim Heron is /Metro Times/ editor. Send comments to 
wkheron at metrotimes.com <mailto:wkheron at metrotimes.com>.*

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