Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Ian Finkelstein to host intimate jazz concert

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings (DCWS) presents its first concert of the year Friday with “Jazz in January,” an intimate jazz concert featuring local pianist and composer Ian Finkelstein, also known as “Ian Fink.” It's part of DCWS’s 40th anniversary “40 and Forward” season.

“The idea of the 40th year is to look back and also to look forward,” said DCWS President and co-founder Maury Okun. “Ian Is one of the hot young Detroit jazz players, and we wanted a young person to head this.”

Finkelstein, 31, will perform with drummer Louis Jones III and bass player Jonathon Muir-Cotton in a concert consisting of original music — created specifically for the event — and works by Geri Allen, Marcus Belgrave and others, as well as improv.  

Local pianist and composer Ian Finkelstein will perform Firday as part of the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings 40th anniversary season.

“We play together so often that there’s a shared repertoire that we know and sometimes, if the spirit moves us, we will just play one of those pieces or something that we collectively feel like what we would like to play,” he said. 

Finkelstein said he was brought up on the tradition of Detroit jazz and is active as a producer in within the city’s house and techno communities. He credits bebop, post-bop and electronic music as major influences, as well as musicians Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Stanley Cowell and Allen.

“I do a lot of music that isn’t acoustic, it’s based in synthesizer and drum machines,” he said.  “[Guests] will experience a diversity of music that doesn’t just necessarily fall within what they would generally think of as jazz, even though jazz encompasses a lot of different influences.” 

The performance is part of the DCWS’s Nightnotes concert series which features smaller, more casual performances that allow for interaction with the artists. It also gives artists full control of repertoire and performers.

“One of the values of the series is we let their imaginations go,” Okun said. “The audience gets to have a real sense of who the musician is as a person, in addition to how they are as a musician.”

Ian Finkelstein

It’s the series’ first concert since January 2020 before the pandemic. All DCWS staff, musicians and volunteers are vaccinated, and those wishing to attend must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the performance. Seats are limited to 65 and will be socially-distanced. Masks are required for all attendees. 

Finkelstein said he is looking forward to the opportunity to play original music and curate his own concert.

“It will be an unforgettable night of live, improvised music, featuring some of the greatest of this generation of Detroit jazz musicians,” he said. “It’s going to be fun; we’re going to get down.”

'Jazz in January'

7:30-8:30 p.m. Friday

850 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, at Hagopian World of Rugs

Tickets: $30, $25 for seniors