Swinging back to basics
Detroit Jazz Fest goes for big names and sharp focus
Published: August 29, 2012
Get out: This mainly-in-the-mainstream fest has its fringe. Where the fringe begins is a matter of perspective, but arguably it includes the saxophonists and David Binney and Ellery Eskelin. Eskelin performs with his organ trio (Gary Versace on organ, Gerald Cleaver on drums). Cleaver, a former Detroiter now heading multiple groups in New York, also presents his group Uncle June: Craig Taborn (piano), Mat Maneri (violin, viola), Andrew Bishop and Tony Malaby (saxophones), Drew Gress (bass), Carla Rodea (vocals) and Ryan Mackstaller (guitar).
Get funky: While Eskelin can be expected to salute the organ jazz tradition's funky roots en route to free jazz territories, two other acts are likely to spend more time in the groove. The Trio is the combination of organist Larry Goldings with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart. Then there's the group formerly known as Godfathers of the Groove with guitarist Grant Green Jr. and organist Reuben Rogers. That one's driven by drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, the sticks man for everyone from Albert Ayler to Cat Stevens, but if we have to name one cut, we'll just James Brown's "Cold Sweat."
Homecomings: Almost too many to keep track of. In addition to the previously mentioned, there are Noah Jackson, Louis Hayes, Rick Margitza. Walter White, and Kenny Garrett as leaders. The homecoming sidemen include Taborn and Mackstaller in Uncle June and Ali Jackson drumming with Wynton Marsalis.
See full schedule on Pages 84-85 or at detroitjazzfest.com.
W. Kim Heron is editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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