2017 Detroit Jazz Festival

The JC Heard National Jazz Drums Competition

Dizzy Gillespie once said “three men wrote the rules for modern jazz drumming: Kenny Clarke, Max Roach and J. C. Heard.” J.C. was one of the most recorded drummers in jazz history. Over a 50-year career, he performed with Ellington, Basie, Cab Calloway, Dizzy, Bird, Dexter, Teddy Wilson, and many others in addition to leading his own big band in Detroit serving as a mentor to generations of artists.

In honor of the J.C.’s lifetime of artistry and leadership, the Detroit Jazz Festival is seeking to recognize and provide performance opportunities to outstanding jazz Drummers (35 years of age or younger) whose artistry reflects the commitment to tradition and search for originality that are tenants of J.C. Heard’s virtuosity.