Detroit Jazz Fest 2014 – Opening Night

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The VIP Opening Night Party started with a strolling dinner and some music. The evening had beautiful weather. The drummer in the picture is Djallo Djakate. When they stopped playing, I was going to ask him who the other players and vocalist were. The other musicians decided I was harassing him, I was blocked from asking. So, I have no idea who the others in the picture are. It was a cocktail party atmosphere so it was for the most part background music.

Each year I buy the VIP tickets. I get some perks like good seats. The Detroit Jazz Fest is the largest “free” festival in the world. However, it costs money to do it. It has lost money for the last two years and part of my money goes to the festival to keep it “free”. And, I get a great weekend of beautiful music.

After the dinner was a concert. The first group was The Bad Plus Joshua Redman.

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Left to Right: Ethan Iverson, Joshua Redman, Reid Anderson and David King.

Their music was a great learning experience for me. I usually do not like slow songs or ballads. The musicianship of this group was over the top and gave me an entirely new understanding of just how incredible a ballad could be. It was like having a deep massage to the brain.

I usually like a band to play some standards. They played their own compositions. They were so, so good that if it is a great composition, it will reach you when you have not heard it before. I was filled with music after they played. The songs were engaging and each musician added to the whole which is just the way a great groupplay.

Palmer Woods Music in Homes, Detroit, MI,

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On Saturday, June 21, 2014, I went to the finale of the Music in Homes series in Palmer park in Detroit. The event came I with a tour of the first two floors of the home, a catered dinner and on this evening a jazz program.

It was a beautiful evening in a older Detroit neighborhood with winding roads. Rounding each curve offers a new view of an elegant home. Most of the homes are derived from Medieval English architecture. The home for this concert was a Dutch Revival home built in 1928 by architect Robert O. Derrick. It is almost 7,000 square feet.

During the recent recession, the bank foreclosed on the house and it was left standing empty for three years before the new owner bought the house. They are in the midst of restoring the house to some of the original features where possible. We got to see the first and second floors. The house has four beautiful fire places including one with the original Delft tiles surrounding the fire place.

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This is one of the many interesting furnishings around the house.

20140714-133154-48714525.jpgThis was a view across the street from the second floor. The house was still in an unfinished state but it was easy to see the care and attention of the new owners and how dazzling it will be when it is finished. Perhaps Music in Homes will be invited back when the renovation is complete.

The jazz was performed under a large tent and after touring the house and socializing a bit, I went to the tent to get a good seat. The musicians were Kamau Kenyatta(keys), Spencer Barefield(gtr), Marion Hayden(bass) Djallo Djakate(drums) and Shahida Nurullah as the vocalist. We got a printed program with ten different numbers listed. Perfect for two sets. They played the first set and then took a break.

We went back into the house for the catered dinner by Potts Style Catering. We had Jerk Chicken, Jamaican Rice and Beans, Summer Citrus Salad with Peach Cobbler for dessert. The chicken was quite spicy, of course. It was not too spicy for my taste. The rice and beans had a way of bringing the spiciness down a bit. The salad was not as much citrus as the name suggested. And the peach cobbler was really very sweet. This was catered and they did a great job considering how long they had to hold the meal. Since I was at the end of the line, maybe the citrus was just gone by the time I got there.

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There was quite a line for the dinner.

After eating and getting settled, the second set began. Over the two set, the song I liked best were “In Walked Bud” by Thelonious Monk, “Mr. Kenyatta” by Lee Morgan. Shahida sang with such depth and passion that it reminds that there are vocalists whose voice is truly an instrument.

It was a really nice evening and I will go back when they resume in the fall.

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Left to Right:Kamau Kenyatta on keys, Marion Hayden on bass, Shahida Nurullah on vocals and Djallo Djakate on drums Spencer Barefield on guitar(hidden).