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Published: Thursday, 8/30/2007

Focus will be on jazz at Detroit music fest

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Patti Austin Patti Austin
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DETROIT - In the recent past, the Detroit International Jazz Festival has offered a wide range of musical styles including pop, blues, world music, and R&B.

This year, the free four-day Labor Day weekend festival is focused like a laser beam on traditional jazz.

The lineup for the 28th annual event - the largest free music festival in North America, organizers assert - will include such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Dave Brubeck, Regina Carter, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson, Kenny Barron, Russell Malone, and Patti Austin.

There will be just a taste of other genres, such as blues singer Otis Clay; jam band Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, and legendary Motown group the Miracles (without Smokey Robinson).

Ron Carter Ron Carter
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Performances will take place on three main stages and several secondary stages, over an area spanning 2 million square feet in downtown Detroit, from Hart Plaza on the riverfront to Campus Martius Park three blocks north.

An estimated 650,000 people will attend the event, which runs from 4 to 11 p.m. tomorrow and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Parking is available at public garages and private lots throughout the city, organizers say.

This year's emphasis on traditional jazz comes from the festival's new artistic director, Terri Pontremoli, a classical violinist and jazz connoisseur from Cleveland who is heading up the Detroit festival this year for the first time.

"Her commitment to jazz is extraordinary and she has really worked hard to realize her vision with this year's lineup," said publicist Matt Leibow.

Leibow said the theme of the 2007 festival is "The Rumble in the Great Lakes: Detroit versus Chicago," setting up a friendly showdown between homegrown Detroit-area jazz stars such as Baron, Ron Carter, and Alexander Zonjic, and such Chicago artists as Hancock and Regina Carter.

In addition, Regina Carter, recipient of a prestigious McArthur Foundation's "Genius Award," is serving as the artist in residence, the first time in the festival's history it will have an artist in residence, Leibow said.

For those who can't get enough jazz, there also will be a "Jazz Talk Tent" open Saturday through Monday where fans can meet artists and discuss their favorite style of music.

More information, including lineups and performance times, is available online at www.detroitjazzfest.com or by calling 313-447-1248.

Contact David Yonke at: dyonke@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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