Detroit Jazz Festival unveils stellar lineup

Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater and more will play this free festival on four stages in downtown Detroit Labor Day weekend

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
  • The free festival will be Sept. 1-4 on four stages in downtown Detroit
  • Saxophonist Wayne Shorter is the Artist-in-Residence, performing several times throughout the fest
  • Herbie Hancock, Miles Mosley and George Benson will play Sept. 1
  • Stanley Clarke returns to the Jazz Fest on Sept. 4 after being rained out in 2014

Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, Miles Mosley, George “Sax” Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Regina Carter and more will perform at this year’s free Detroit Jazz Festival in downtown Detroit, organizers announced Wednesday.

Detroit Jazz Festival’s Artist-in-Residence Wayne Shorter performed with the Detroit Jazz Fest Education Celebration band Wednesday.

These names join jazz legend Wayne Shorter, who was announced last month as the festival’s Artist-in-Residence.

The 83-year-old saxophonist is scheduled to perform several times throughout the free music festival, including the kick-off performance Sept. 1 with a quartet featuring Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade. Sunday Sept. 3 he’ll appear with a quintet that includes Geri Allen, Leo Genovese, Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington.

“It’s an honor for you to cherry pick me out of the history books,” said Shorter at a luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club Wednesday where the majority of the festival’s line up was announced.

Shorter performed at the event with the Detroit Jazz Fest Education Celebration band. Shorter will also perform a one-off performance at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe Thursday evening. (Call (313) 469-6564 to reserve tickets.)

Detroit Jazz Festival president and artistic director Chris Collins stressed the city’s important role in the festival and jazz culture.

“Detroit has always embraced its legacy, its history, and it’s done so in a way that that legacy has spun out to have a profound affect on the culture of America and the culture of the world,” he said to the audience of sponsors, musicians and members of the media.

“I know it’s no surprise to any of us here but I’m sure you hear it. You travel around the world and you meet new generations of people who are suddenly realizing for the first time Detroit is hip... in fact Detroit was hip before hip was hip.”

Among the highlights of the 38th annual outdoor festival that were announced Wednesday are a Herbie Hancock performance opening night, along with Miles Mosley and George “Sax” Benson.

On Sept. 1, look for Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Theo Croker Quintet, the Chucho Valdés Joe Lovano Quintet, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, the Billy Childs Quartet and more.

John Beasley, the Akihiro Nishiguchi Trio, the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet, Benny Golson, Cameron Graves and more are set for Sept. 3. On Labor Day, the festival closes out with Stanley Clarke, Vijay Iyer, Regina Carter’s tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, New Light: The Music of Elvin Jones: Live at the Lighthouse and more.

A full scheduled will be posted to closer to the event. A mobile app will stream the festival live and offer other content. Visit

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

Detroit Jazz Festival

Sept. 1-4

Downtown Detroit or (855) 529-9338