Chucho Valdes, Cécile McLorin Salvant and Soul Rebels headline this year's Jazz Fest

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

The Detroit Jazz Festival, a beloved Labor Day tradition, returns live and in-person this September, so get ready for some serious talent. 

On Saturday evening, festival organizers announced this year's lineup, which will include some of the biggest names in jazz: Grammy-winner Cécile McLorin Salvant; the Soul Rebels; and Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band. This year's Artist-in-Residence, Chucho Valdés, the renowned Grammy-winning Cuban pianist, band leader and composer, also will perform several times.

Cuban pianist, composer, and bandleader Chucho Valdés is the Artist-in-Residence at the 2022 Detroit Jazz Festival in September.

The lineup was announced during a special livestream preview event at the future home of Wayne State's Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center. Saturday is International Jazz Day, a global celebration to raise jazz awareness.

“It’s extremely befitting we announce the 2022 Festival lineup on what is considered a global day of unity in the jazz community,” said Chris Collins, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation's president and artistic director. “As we look forward to pivoting back to an in-person format, this year’s lineup reflects our renewed mission to feature legacy artists, propagate and nurture the next generation of jazz performers and audiences, and showcase the diverse tapestry of jazz in one festival.” 

This year's jazz festival, which runs Sept. 2-5 and will be spread across four stages, will feature more than four dozen artists and acts from around the country. It finally returns in person after two years of virtual performances because of COVID-19. It's considered the largest free jazz festival in the world. 

“There is no better place in the world for jazz than Labor Day weekend in Detroit,” said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Board of Directors. “We’re truly excited for another great jazz festival and welcome our guests from around the world to our beautiful city.”

Valdes, 80, a highly accomplished and influential figure in the world of Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz, told The Detroit News earlier this spring that it's "an honor" he was named this year's Artist-in-Residence. He plans to use the opportunity to showcase his latest work.

"It's three movements ... about the creation of the roots of Africa in America," Valdés told The News. He'll also perform with Detroit native and singer Dianne Reeves and saxophonist Joe Lovano as well as a set with his own quartet. "It's an amazing quartet, it's fantastic." 

The Soul Rebels, a New Orleans-based eight-piece brass ensemble that incorporates elements of soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock and pop, will headline the Detroit Jazz Festival on Friday.

Even with the return to live audiences at this year's Jazz Fest, there will still be a virtual option for those who can't or aren't comfortable attending. "Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE!” will be available for free through the festival's website,, showing livestream performances from all four festival stages during the entire festival.

Here's a partial listing of this year's performers:

Sept. 2

Chucho Valdés “The Creation” with the Yoruban Orchestra, Hilario Duràn & John Beasley, musical directors.

The Soul Rebels

Sept. 3

The New Orleans Groove Masters with Herlin Riley, Jason Marsalis & Shannon Powell

 Roosevelt Collier 

Julian Lage

Harriet Tubman, featuring Brandon Ross, Melvin Gibbs & JT Lewis

Donny McCaslin

Ranky Tanky with very special guest Ms. Lisa Fischer

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

 Vijay Iyer Trio

Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya

Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band with special guest Marquis Hill

Sept. 4

Bill Frisell Trio featuring Thomas Morgan & Ruby Royston

José James presents Yesterday I Had the Blues:  The Music of Billie Holiday

Georgia Anne Muldrow

Antonio Sánchez & Bad Hombre with Thana Alexa, BIGYUKI & Lex Sadler

Nubya Garcia

Tottori Jazz Generation Band

Charles McPherson Quintet featuring Brian Lynch

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Roberto Fonseca YESUN

The Lighthouse Project

 Duets – Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés & Joe Lovano

Sept. 5

Theo Croker – LOVE QUANTUM featuring Gary Bartz

Ethan Iverson Trio (with Larry Grenadier and Nasheet Waits)

Dianne Reeves

Artemis featuring Renee Rosnes, Ingrid Jensen, Nicole Glover, Alexa Tarantino, Noriko Ueda & Allison Miller

Emmet Cohen Trio

John Scofield’s “Yankee Go Home” featuring Vicente Archer, Jon Cowherd & Josh Dion

JD Allen Trio

Chucho Valdés Quartet

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