Detroit Jazz Festival 2016 Saturday, September 3

It was the first full day of the jazz fest and I got so filled with music that the result was rather overwhelming. There is a point in me where I can’t listen to music anymore and appreciate it. 

As I was walking to the stage on Hart Plaza, I saw Cassius  Richmond playing the saxophone and doing a wonderful job as usual.


I was on my way to see the John Douglas Quartet at the Carhartt Amphitheater  stage. They are one of the groups I see in Detroit at Bert’s warehouse on Friday night. So in this case, I knew what I was about to see. Somehow add a festival, the music just seems to be a little bit better. They did play one of my favorite songs which is “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise”. John Douglas is on the trumpet and the Alexis Lombre is on the keyboards. Ibrahim Jones is on the bass. I didn’t catch the name of the drummer. EditEditEditEdit

Next I went to another stage to see the Ken Cox reunion band. The musicians got up and told how much Ken Cox had meant to them because how much he mentored them all. All of that  before I was out listening to jazz. A lot of well known local musicians played including Rayse Biggs(tpt), Djallo Djakte(drums), George Bohannan(tone), Shahidah Nurullah(vox) and Kamau Kenyatta(keys).  There were others who also played . I really enjoyed the music and wish I had been around to hear Ken Cox when he was playing.


Then I went off to lunch before heading to a stage after lunch that was across the plaza. Although there are four major stages in a relatively small area the walking can be daunting especially through the crowds. I went to see the Stanley Cowell quintet featuring Billy Harper and Charles Tolliver. I had heard great things about this group and had never been to see them before. Actually the music was great and I really enjoyed it

Stanley Cowell quintet featuring Billy Harper and Charles Tolliver

Saturday lunch

I meant to stay for just a taste of the next act which was The Ron Carter Quartet. I didn’t especially like the performance they did on Friday night with before cellos it didn’t feel like jazz to me.  I ended up staying for the entire act it was so good. In fact, I would say is this is my highlight of the day. In a quartet setting, the music was just entrancing. It was a place where I could move with music and really let it into me


The last act that I saw for the day was Roy Hargrove quintet with the Detroit Jazz Festival string orchestra. It looks like the artistic director wants to add strings to the jazz performances as something a little different.  I have seen Roy Hargrove at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café just a few months ago. It was the kind of jazz I like. I stayed for two songs with the large string a compliment and decided I didn’t really like this approach for Roy Hargrove. Who knows it may be the way he’ll go in the future. It was just not my cup of tea. I have been at the jazz fest for about eight hours at that point and just had enough music. 

Detroit Jazz Festival 2016 -Opening Night

Opening night of the jazz festival starts with a reception and a concert featuring the star headliners. This year was no different.

The weather for the weekend looks to be spectacular. The first evening was extremely windy though and most people were not quite dressed for the unexpected wind.In this picture, you can see the flags completely horizontal as the wind blows through the event. We were served appetizers and small bites. I had small bites of macaroni and cheese as well as chicken fried steak. There were also small desserts that were sort of bite-size and quite good including brownies and small cupcakes.Edit


I arrived late so when I went over to see the opening headliner of the Ron Carter Nonet, there were no VIP seats available.  Yes, I buy the VIP tickets so I can get the close seats and catered meals. There was available fence space within the VIP seating and I could see rather well. I was not able to get a program so I only knew Ron Carter by name.  There were also another bass, four cellos, keyboard percussionists. Chris Collins, the director of the jazz fest, did not introduce the musicians as is the usual practice. The mix of songs tended towards slow songs. Much of the music was bowed rather than plopped on the base which is in itself unusual. The music was different than I had expected but I did enjoy it.

The next band in the line up was the Soul Rebels, a group from New Orleans. And again, none of the members were introduced by name.


And the last act was George Benson who was introduced by name. Although, I enjoyed some of the music, I really think he falls more on the pop side of music rather than jazz. A lot of times, though, the jazz fest has performers to introduce a people to jazz and this may have been an example. 


I didn’t go out to the after fest parties. I had about 3 solid hours fo music and more would have been overwhelming.  I have learned my limits. 

Today. Maybe I can find a program and have a great music day.