STEFANO PALTERA/Associated Press
The festival has commissioned composer and bandleader Gerald Wilson to write a big band piece entitled "Detroit" to debut at the festival.
BY MARK STRYKER
DETROIT FREE PRESS MUSIC WRITER
The Detroit International Jazz Festival has commissioned indefatigable 90-year-old composer and bandleader Gerald Wilson, who trained at Detroit's Cass Tech in the '30s, to write a big band piece entitled "Detroit" in honor of the festival's 30th anniversary. The premiere will take place at the Labor Day weekend event, Sept. 4-7 in downtown Detroit.
The commission was among the latest details announced today, including the complete slate of national headliners.
Wilson, who wrote for Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie and Duke Ellington early in his career, has led his own Los Angeles-based big band for 45 years and is a leading voice in post-World War II big band jazz. He'll lead a band of Michigan musicians at the festival.
Festival leaders previously announced such key national acts as the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Chick Corea Trio, Hank Jones and Dave Brubeck, as well as a families-in-jazz theme and artist-in-residence John Clayton, who has been commissioned to write a concerto grosso for quintet and jazz orchestra.
The festival, titled Keepin' Up with the Joneses, will honor the legendary Pontiac-bred brothers Hank, Thad and Elvin Jones. Hank, an amazingly prolific pianist at 90, is the eldest and only surviving brother.
Newly announced headliners include a gaggle with Detroit ties: pianist Geri Allen with a quartet featuring a tap dancer; multi-reedman Bennie Maupin's Dolphyana (a tribute to Eric Dolphy); drummer Louis Hayes' Cannonball Legacy Band; alto saxophonist Charles McPherson; and drummer Karriem Riggins' Virtuoso Experience with Mulgrew Miller and DJ Madlib; Flint-bred singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, and trumpeter Marcus Belgrave with former students Allen, Riggins and Bob Hurst.
There will also be a performance of Donald Byrd's "A New Perspective," a prescient 1963 gospel-influenced LP with a choir. (Byrd will not appear.)
Other headliners include the Heath Brothers, Larry and Julian Coryell, Pete and Juan Escovedo, Brian Augur and Family, Clayton Brothers, Brubeck Brothers, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, T.S. Monk, Chuchito Valdes, Eddie Daniels and Sheila Jordan.
Bassist Christian McBride, resident artist at the 2008 festival, will lead his new straight-ahead quintet and team with Clayton and Rodney Whitaker for a "Superbass" Trio.
Contact MARK STRYKER : 313-222-6459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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