Christan McBrideNow the last time I’ve been to the jazz fest in Detroit; WJZZ was still around and radio was a microcosm of sound it was eclectic. Some things only get better with time as our elders will say the same can be said for The 29th Annual Detroit International Jazz Fest. This year has a Philly-Detroit vibe with Christian McBride as the host when walking in downtown Detroit for the Jazz fest it’s a different world. You see vendors for everything from food to clothing and then the stages are everywhere there are six stages. If you have never been to Detroit there is a park called Campus Martius which is some what in the center of down town Detroit but for this weekend it is called the Jazz Garden and it has the Jazz Garden Stage not to far from that in Cadillac Square is another stage sponsored by Chase Bank called the Chase Main stage. Now that is just two stages we have four more to go! All of this is based from Woodward Avenue in Detroit which can be looked at as a Main Street in the city when you walk further down you look to your left and see the Here & Now Stage walking further toward Hart Plaza which from my early years to the present has always been the central location for most festival in Detroit. You see a an are specifically for the kids called kid bop an area for play and introduction to music particular jazz. Then you cross Jefferson Avenue and now you’re in Hart Plaza you look to your right there is the Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent this is where you can listen to forums on jazz or meet some artist.  Then as you walk closer to the Detroit River you hit the last three of the six stages I mentioned earlier the Carheart Amphitheater, Absopure Waterfront Stage, and Mack Avenue Records Pyramid Stage the best way to describe this is a City within a city.


            The First Night opened with a performance by Dianne Reeves this was truly a treat for me when she sang “Better Days” it was Phenomenal. Then came the peas’ a résistance the tribute to Marvin Gaye featuring Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson, Jose James, and Christian McBride. This was a breath taking site, football legend Lem Barny a friend of Marvin Gaye hosted the tribute. Now Jose James held his own and started the show of right. But, the man who stole the Rahsaan Pattersonshow was Rahsaan Patterson with his rendition of Troubled Man he actual forgot to say one of the lines in the song finished the song then add the line he forgot. The band led by Christian McBride started playing the tune again as the audience clapped to Rahsaan’s accupela version of Trouble Man if you’ve never heard this young man sing then you will not understand how deep and beautiful this tribute was its definitely a had to be there, mad if you weren’t moment. Lalah And then there was Lalah this is a woman who possess the ability to pay homage to a great songwriter or artist in her performance of there song, but still make the performance her own. No mater what she does here own essence comes through in her performance this is what makes her undeniably who she is Lalah Hathaway. During this tribute you saw people dancing every where they could and singing along it was a cornucopia of music lovers enjoying themselves. The Tribute ended with Marvin Gays “What Going On” where Jose James & Rahsaan Patterson joined Lalah Hathaway on stage toward the end of the song the course changed from “What’s Going On” to “Obama” this brought a loud clap of hope and satisfaction. This was a beautiful night for every Detroit er all over the world to stand up take a bow and be proud of you city.


There were so many shows and not enough time so check back for day two & day three of The Detroit International Jazz Fest we’ll have artist and host’s quotes in stories to come!


Norvell Molex Jr.


The Jazz Suite


Gospel Jazz Podcast


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