Wayne Shorter named Jazz Fest 2017 Artist-in-Residence

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Jazz innovator Wayne Shorter will be the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the 38th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, organizers announced Saturday night.

This esteemed role will see the saxophonist and composer performing several times throughout the free music festival, happening Sept. 1-4 on four stages in downtown Detroit.

“Wayne Shorter is truly a living legend ... someone who helped to shape the very vocabulary of jazz and American music,” said Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation.

“To have him as an Artist-in-Residence to participate in our city and our community, and then in the festival itself musically in such an intense and intimate level, is cause for celebration as it brings a sophistication and an artistry and the joy of a powerful unique voice in creative music to the heart of what we do throughout the year.”

Shorter, 83, will take the prime opening Friday evening time slot, kicking off the event with his quartet featuring Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade.

He’ll also be joined by the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra in performing the North American debut of his piece “Emanon.” The composition was inspired by Shorter’s love of superheroes and science fiction.

“Performing at the Detroit Jazz Festival is something I’ve received the opportunity to do on several occasions, and each time it’s combined a phenomenal atmosphere with immeasurable talent, which is why I keep coming back,” said Shorter in a press release. “I am extremely honored to expand my Festival participation this year by becoming the Detroit Jazz Festival’s Artist-in-Residence.”

In the past few years, musicians such as Ron Carter, Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman have been named the festival’s Artist-in-Residence.

Shorter, who has won 10 Grammy Awards and Sweden’s 2017 Polar Music Prize, will also perform at the Detroit Jazz Fest as a quintet with Geri Allen, Leo Genovese, Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington. Collins calls this grouping a “unique coming together of different artists of different generations.”

The New Jersey native also plans to play one set on April 20 at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in Grosse Pointe. That same week, more of the national schedule will be revealed on April 19.

New this year, fans can download the Detroit Jazz Fest Live app can be used to watch a HD stream of every festival performance from anywhere.

Visit detroitjazzfest.com for more information.


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Twitter: @melodybaetens