Past Artists in Residence

Joshua Redman
2014 Artist in Residence

Read about Joshua Redman here.
Danilo PerezDanilo Pérez
2013 Artist in Residence

Article in Detroit News on Danilo
Grammy award winner Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. In just over a decade, his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz (covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and world music) has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. Danilo’s abundant talents and joyous enthusiasm make his concerts both memorable and inspiring. Whether leading his own ensembles or touring with renowned jazz masters (Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, Steve Lacy), Danilo is making a decidedly fresh imprint on contemporary music, guided, as always, by his love for jazz.
He has led his own groups since the early ‘90s, and as bandleader has earned three Grammy® nominations for his ebullient and innovative recordings. Motherland, was nominated for two Grammy® Awards for “Best Latin Jazz Album,” and also garnered his third win for “Best Jazz Album” from the prestigious Boston Music Awards. Motherland was named (as were his previous four releases) among the best albums of the year by such publications as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Diego Tribune, Billboard and JazzTimes. In 2002, he received a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for “Pianist of the Year.”
Born in Panama in 1965, Danilo started his musical studies at just three years of age with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in electronics, he moved to the United States to enroll at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and, after changing his major to music, transferred to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. From 1985-88, while completing his studies in jazz composition, he performed with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard,Claudio Roditi and Paquito D'Rivera, and produced the critically-acclaimed Reunion album (Messidor) featuring D'Rivera and Arturo Sandoval: in 1994, Danilo also appeared on Sandoval's Grammy®-winning album, Danzon. Since the late ‘80s, he has toured and/or recorded with Wayne Shorter, Steve Lacy, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, John Patitucci, Tom Harrell, Gary Burton, and Roy Haynes. ” Roy Haynes Trio (Verve 2000) was named one of the best albums of the year by Gary Giddins, critic for The Village Voice: “(This CD) displayed Danilo’s skills perfectly – glinting technique, an expressive melodic gift, and unerring time . . .”
Danilo first attracted the spotlight as the youngest member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra (1989-1992). This pivotal tenure solidified his command of the eclectic, post-bop Latin style, and brought him to the forefront on Gillespie’s Grammy® Award-winning recording, Live At The Royal Festival Hall (Enja), an appearance at the Kennedy Center, and worldwide touring.
In 1993, Danilo turned his focus to his own ensembles and recording projects. A bold, ingenious bandleader, he moved into the spotlight once again, this time for his own RCA/Novus CDs - Danilo Pérez (1993) and The Journey (1994). The Journey placed prominently in several Top Ten Albums of 1994 lists. DownBeat gave it 4 1/2 stars and listed it among the best CDs of the ‘90s; it also received a Jazziz Critics Choice Award. In 1995, Danilo became the first Latin member of Wynton Marsalis’ band, and the first jazz musician to perform with the Panamanian Symphony Orchestra, which featured an expanded 80-piece orchestral version of “The Journey.” He also released two recordings for impulse! – PanaMonk (1996) and Central Avenue (1998) – and won his first Grammy® nomination for “Best Jazz Album” for the latter; The New York Times praised PanaMonk as "a masterpiece of jazz synthesis." These four CDs accumulated numerous awards and Top Ten citations, firmly establishing Danilo’s leadership role in a new generation of jazz artists.
Danilo also is part of the Wayne Shorter Quartet which won a Grammy in 2006 with their record Beyond The Sound Barrier. The new Wayne Shorter Quartet was voted “Best Small Ensemble of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2002 and 2004. He is featured on Shorter’s Verve releases, Alegria and Footprints Live!, which received Five Stars from DownBeat. Shorter invited Danilo to join his first all-acoustic group after hearing him play, “It was adventurous and fresh,” Shorter observes (Jazz Times, 2002). “He wasn’t playing to show off his technique. He was interested in telling stories.” Favorably compared to the ‘60s Miles Davis group that featured Shorter, the new quartet displays a remarkable freedom.
Currently, Perez serves as UNESCO Artist For Peace, Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival . In previous years, he served as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF and Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama.
He also continues to play with Ben Street and Adam Cruz, musicians that have been working with him for more than ten years. His new CD on Mack Avenue Records will be released in 2013.
Terence BlanchardTerence Blanchard
2012 Artist in Residence

The 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival Artist in Residence, Terence Blanchard, is one of the most influential jazz trumpeters and film score masters of his generation.
Blanchard, born in New Orleans in 1962, began playing the piano at age five and, in elementary school, his opera-singing father began coaching him on the trumpet. Blanchard studied with Ellis Marsalis and Roger Dickerson before attending Rutger’s University in New Jersey.
His first gig, recommended to him by his Rutger’s professor, was with Lionel Hampton’s band. In 1983, Hampton recommended Blanchard for a part in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. After two years, he and one of his band mates, Donald Harrison, formed their own quintet. Finally, in 1990, Blanchard began his solo career.
As a New Orleans native, Terence has contributed greatly to the music that has stemmed from Hurricane Katrina. He also provided works for Spike Lee’s documentary, “When the Leeves Broke,” about the hurricane and its effect on the area. He combined four of those pieces with additional works to create his album, “A Tale of God’s Will,” also commemorating hurricane Katrina.
With five Grammy Awards, and more than 29 albums recorded and 50 film scores composed, Blanchard has helped shape the modern jazz of today.
Jeff "Tain" WattsJeff “Tain” Watts
2011 Artist in Residence

The Detroit Jazz Fest is excited to announce the 2011 Artist in residence, Jeff “Tain” Watts.
Jeff “Tain” Watts, voted twice as “Best Drummer” (Modern Drummer Magazine), is one of the most original and influential drummers on today’s music scene and holds the distinction of being the only musician on all Grammy Award winning jazz records by Wynton and Branford Marsalis.
Watts’ formal training began at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he majored in percussion/timpani. But it was at the Berklee College of Music where he began honing his un-mistakable style along with Kevin Eubanks, Greg Osby, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.
Starting in 1981, Tain enoyed a 7-year stint with the Wynton Marsalis Quartet and played with George Benson, Harry Connick. Jr. and McCoy Tyner before joining the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1989.
While a member of Branford’s group, Watts played in the Tonight Show band for 3 years and co-starred in the Spike Lee film "Mo Better Blues". Since then he has recorded and toured with Branford as well as Danilo Perez, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Kenny Kirkland, Courtney Pine, Geri Allen, Alice Coltrane, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Ravi Coltrane.
Tain is equally impressive as a bandleader. He has produced six critically acclaimed CDs titled “Watts" (Dark Key Music 2009), "Folk's Songs" (Dark Key Music 2007), “Detained, Live at the Blue Note" (Half Note 2004), "MegaWatts" (Sunnyside 2003), "Bar Talk" (Sony 2002) and "Citizen Tain" (Sony 1999).
Watts has also won several Grammy Awards for the following projects Wynton Marsalis for Black Codes From the Underground (1986), Wynton Marsalis for J Mood (1987), Wynton Marsalis for Marsalis Standard Time – Vol. I (1988), Branford Marsalis for I Heard You Twice the First Time (1993) and Branford Marsalis for Contemporary Jazz (2001).
“Short of visionary, Tain still possesses heat, nuance, maturity, and a bounty of ideas.” – Entertainment Weekly
Click here to read a recent review of "Tain" in the New York Times.
Mulgrew MillerMulgrew Miller
2010 Artist in Residence

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Mulgrew Miller has developed a sound that is tinged with the blues and gospel flavors of that region. As the celebrated pianist explained in a recent JazzTimes article, “I started playing in church by ear at age eight… the blues were a big part of the total musical fabric in the Mississippi Delta.”
One of the most in-demand jazz pianists of his generation, Miller has performed with many of the legendary jazz innovators and has appeared on over 400 recordings. He was with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (conducted by Mercer Ellington) in the late '70s and had important stints with Betty Carter (1980), Woody Shaw (1981–1983), Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1983–1986) and the Tony Williams Quintet (1986–1994).
In 1985 Miller made his debut recording as a leader, Keys To The City, for producer Orrin Keepnews' Landmark label. He went on to record several critically acclaimed albums, including 1987’s Wingspan (also the name of his primary band), Countdown (1989) and the two-volume set Live at the Kennedy Center (2006 and 2007).
In 1997 he was invited to tour Japan with an assembly of some of the most prestigious names in jazz piano—a group of ten pianists called 100 Gold Fingers that included Tommy Flanagan, Ray Bryant and Kenny Barron. Miller was also a member of the Contemporary Piano Ensemble, a unique group consisting of four pianists performing simultaneously on four grand pianos, with a rhythm section. Other innovative projects include his duos with Danish jazz bassist Neils Henning Orsted Pederson, his commission to compose a special work for the Dayton Dance Company, and his student workshops.
In 2006 Miller was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Performing Arts at Lafayette College, where he served as artist in residence from 2008–2009. He was also named director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University, following in the distinguished footsteps of his “friend and brother,” pianist James Williams.
John ClaytonJohn Clayton
2009 Artist in Residence

The Los Angeles-born Clayton studied bass with the legendary Ray Brown.  By the age of 19, he was employed as the bassist on Henry Mancini's television series The Mancini Generation, but managed to go to school and graduate with a degree in performance from Indiana University in 1975. He toured with Monty Alexander and the Count Basie Orchestra for several years before accepting the position of principal bassist in the Amsterdam Philharmonic.  With jazz in his heart and a calling to compose and arrange, he returned to the U.S. in 1984, where he founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with brother Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton, as well as the Clayton Brothers Quintet.
In addition to studio work, performing and conducting for performers such as Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, Queen Latifah, Diana Krall, John Pizzarelli and Gladys Knight, John also teaches at USC and is the artistic director of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Vail Jazz Workshop. From 1999-2001, he served as Artistic Director of Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl.
In 2007, John was awarded a National Medal of Arts for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.  In 2008, he received his first Grammy - after seven nominations - for his arrangement of "I'm Gonna' Live 'til I Die" on Queen Latifah's Verve recording.   His arrangement of the "Star Spangled Banner" for Whitney Houston in 1991 resulted in the fastest-selling single in the history of Arista Records.
For more information about John Clayton, visit his website at
Christian McBrideChristian McBride
2008 Artist in Residence

For nearly two decades, Grammy Award winner Christian McBride has widely been regarded as one of the premier jazz bassists in the world.
The Philadelphia native has played with literally hundreds of artists, from McCoy Tyner and Diana Krall to Sting.  In 1991, legendary bassist Ray Brown invited the young wunderkind to join him and John Clayton in the trio SuperBass. And after being hailed "Hot Jazz Artist" of 1992 by Rolling Stone, Christian continued to prove it as a member of guitarist Pat Metheny's "Special Quartet."
Christian's own recordings – including The Philadelphia Experiment (2001), Vertical Vision (2003), and Live at Tonic (2006) – have encompassed a diverse canon of original compositions and imaginatively arranged covers that reveal the totality of his musicianship. His working group in 2008, the Christian McBride Band, featured saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully.
But Christian’s prowess as a player is only half of what makes him such a highly respected individual.  He has held artistic director posts at Jazz Aspen Snowmass summer program and the Dave Brubeck Institute and was co-director of the Jazz Museum in Harlem.  He was also the second Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and was appointed as Artist in Residence for the 51st Annual Monterey Jazz Festival.
As a composer, Christian was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center to write "Bluesin' in Alphabet City," which was performed by Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.  In 1998, the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts awarded McBride with a commission to write "The Movement, Revisited," a dramatic musical portrait of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, written and arranged for quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir.
For more information about Christian McBride, go to

Regina CarterRegina Carter
2007 Artist in Residence

Regina Carter Loves Detroit
Hailed by Time Magazine as "one of the top creative artists in America," Carter made history in 2001 when she became the first jazz musician and first African American to play the legendary Guarneri violin once owned by classical music virtuoso and composer Niccolo Paganini.  This Detroit-born violinist went on to record such memorable albums as the classical-infused Paganini: After a Dream – on which she plays the Guarneri – and her most recent release, I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey, a posthumous tribute to her mother that features music from the 20s, 30s and 40s.
In the fall of 2006, Carter was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award” in recognition of her exceptional creativity and the future that she represents in the creative arts. In 2007, Carter was named the first artist in residence in the history of the Detroit Jazz Fest.For more information about Regina Carter, go to