With the help of an expanding list of cultural partners, the Detroit Jazz Festival has grown its year-round presence and is now reaching hundreds of students and fans throughout the year in Detroit.
Artist in residence Program
After only two months into his role as artist in residence, “Tain” has already made an indelible impression on the City of Detroit.
2011 Artist in residence, Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts made multiple visits throughout this year to work with the community. The Artist in residence program makes it possible for artists to interact with students and Detroit-based musicians, adding to the cultural vitality of our city while providing them opportunities to create significant projects that might not be possible without organizational support.
The dynamic drummer will heat things up on opening night, Friday September 2, with a star-studded “Drum Club” featuring Joe Locke, Susie Ibarra, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and Pedro Martinez. Throughout the weekend, “Tain” will be seen on several stages - with his own band, with Michigan State University’s Jazz Orchestra, and in the Jazz Talk Tent presented by St. John Providence Health System, telling stories and being in the hot seat for DownBeat’s Blindfold Test.
Detroit Jazz Festival’s 2011 Year-Round Presence
Master class with legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb
On February 4, the Detroit Jazz Festival, in partnership with Guitar Center and the DSO, presented a master class with legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb. A diverse crowd of 100 plus drummers and music fans packed the Guitar Center drum room for an opportunity to interact with one of the greatest drummers in jazz history. Cobb (NEA Jazz Master 2009) wowed the audience with his fancy brushwork and bass drum pedaling techniques, took questions from the audience, shared personal career experiences and provided insight on what it takes to be a professional musician.
February 11, at the Charles H. Wright MAAH, it was TRUE DETROIT! Students from Detroit School of the Arts read Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1964, “The Importance of Jazz” address and students from Inside Out City Wide Poets performed their original work "Legacy". A group led by 2011 DJF Artist in residence, Jeff "Tain" Watts, with Geri Allen, Bob Hurst, Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Nicholas Payton and ingenue Mavis SWAN Poole performed “Freedom 2011”. The finale of Lift Every Voice and Sing, was both touching and swingin' and brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation. A packed hall and a video feed to an overflow space introduced “Tain” to the community and warmed all of our souls. We came in from the cold and left inspired and unified.
Jeff “Tain” Watts and Mavis SWAN Poole at the Detroit School of Arts
2011 DJF Artist in residence Jeff “Tain” Watts and vocalist Mavis SWAN Poole conducted master classes with students at the Detroit School of the Arts when they were in town for “Freedon 2011”. The DSA Jazz Ensemble, led by Dennis Wilson (as part of DJF’s Jazz Infusion project funded by the Erb Foundation), performed several pieces for Tain who critiqued the group and provided invaluable info to the students. Poole worked with several vocal ensembles on breathing and improvisation techniques. She also spoke with the students on importance of professionalism in the music industry.
April: Jazz Appreciation Month
Tain returned to Detroit to work with students from Warren Mott, Sterling Heights and Cousino high schools. He appeared on Fox 2, participated in our annual press conference, and performed at Cliff Bell’s with the WSU Big Band, directed by Chris Collins.
The Michigan State Community Music School in Detroit and Detroit Jazz Festival screened the film documentary CHOPS, which follows a student ensemble’s journey to the “Essentially Ellington Competition” at Jazz @ Lincoln Center. A Q&A session with Jeron “Ricio” Fruge (one of the students from the movie) and a skype interview with the movie’s director (and former Detroiter) Bruce Broder, were part of the evening.
June: 25th Anniversary of Round Midnight
The Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor and the festival screened this important jazz film starring Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock and other jazz luminaries. Maxine Gordon, jazz archivist and widow of Dexter Gordon, conducted a post concert talk on the making of the movie.
July: Anat Cohen and Jazz Week @Wayne
Detroit Jazz Festival sponsored a residency with Israeli saxophonist Anat Cohen for JazzWeek@Wayne, a jazz summer camp at WSU. In addition, Anat played a concert WSU Faculty at the Berman Performing Arts Center in West Bloomfield. Students from the camp performed at Campus Martius Park on July 22.
August: Festival summer camp and other events
Detroit Jazz Festival held its first week-long summer jazz institute at the Pinchas Education Center at Symphony Hall. Directed by Dennis Wilson, it focused on students from the Detroit Public Schools. In addition, Jeff “Tain” Watts also returned for more coaching. The students performed their own concert at Campus Martius Park on August 26.
Jeff “Tain” Watts and break-dancer Haleem Rasul performed at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Johnny Trudell Orchestra performed at the Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe.
All Summer: Detroit Jazz Festival "Rhythm, Roots and Rhyme" Poetry Slam Series
From The Music Box at the Max M. Fisher Music Center (Friday, June 17) to the African World Festival on Hart Plaza (August 19), the festival produced a summer of poetry in Detroit. The series, sponsored by Pepsi and hosted by LaShaun “phoenix” Moore Kotaran, featured City Wide Poets from the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.