Detroit Jazz Festival Unveils Eclectic Lineup for 36th Annual Event

DETROIT — The Detroit Jazz Festival announced today its lineup including a diverse array of headlining acts for the 36th annual Labor Day Weekend Festival, taking place Sept. 4-7. The lineup is the culmination of the Festival’s commitment to bringing a diverse and unique group of jazz musicians to downtown Detroit to deliver a collection of performances that includes a Homecoming Series with Detroit natives, exciting new artists, legends and student groups all connected around special custom programming and unique musical experiences that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

“Detroit is a place filled with soul, culture and creativity, and we have a great legacy of jazz here. Our Festival – the world’s largest free jazz festival – truly showcases what makes our city special,” said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation board of directors. “Being part of the Festival since its inception, it has been rewarding to watch it grow and become an event that is woven into the fabric of the Detroit and Jazz communities. We’re looking to add to its legacy with another collection of unforgettable performances this year.”

In his fourth year as Artistic Director, Chris Collins has once again curated a world-class lineup that is truly representative of the genre in all its facets starting with this year’s 2015 Artist-in-Residence Pat Metheny, presented by Absopure, who will grace all four stages throughout the weekend with sets including:

  • Pat Metheny Trio with Antonio Sanchez, Scott Colley & special guest Kenny Garrett
  • Pat Metheny acoustic duo with Ron Carter
  • Pat Metheny Reunion with Gary Burton Quartet
  • Pat Metheny, Scott Colley, Antonio Sanchez, and Danny Gottlieb with the Detroit Jazz Festival Big Band and String Orchestra, Conducted by Alan Broadbent, perform new works including the North American premiere of Metheny’s multi-movement/multi-media tribute to Eberhard Weber.
Pat Metheny

The 2015 additional acts include (in alphabetical order):

  • Monty Alexander: Harlem-Kingston Express
  • Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band
  • Richard Bona: Mandekan Cubano
  • Joanne Brackeen Quartet
  • Will Calhoun Quartet w/Greg Osby
  • Ron Carter Trio
  • Anat Cohen Celebrando Brasil: From Rio to Minas
  • Eddie Daniels jazz version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for Detroit with the Detroit Jazz Festival String Orchestra and original narration from Douglas Preston
  • Dave Douglas Quintet
  • Paquito D’Rivera Quintet
  • Kenny Garrett Quintet
  • Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra: Conductor Carla Bley, Bassist Steve Swallow
  • Jon Irabagon Quartet
  • Jungle Funk Trio
  • Oliver Lake Organ Quartet
  • Carmen Lundy
  • Mack Ave. Superband
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa “Bird Calls”
  • René Marie Experiment in Truth
  • Ken Peplowski Quartet
  • Danilo Pérez – World premiere of his commissioned Detroit World Suite
  • Ester Rada
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Maria Schneider Orchestra
  • The John Scofield & Joe Lovano Quartet
  • Tuba Skinny
  • Christian Scott Sextet
  • Benny’s Threads – Inspired by the artistry of Benny Goodman, featuring new compositions by Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, spoken word from author Douglas Preston, and superstar clarinetists featuring Anat Cohen, Eddie Daniels, Paquito D’Rivera and Ken Peplowski
  • Steve Turre and James Carter: Rahsaan Roland Kirk Borthday Celebration
  • James “Blood” Ulmer & the Black Music Experience featuring Queen Esther
  • Manuel Valera & Groove Square

To see the full lineup, visit

“Jazz is a genre that evokes such powerful and varied emotion, and it strongly emphasizes the experimentation of sound and musicianship. When putting together artists such as this, our job is to capture all that diversity, all that makes this art form so beautiful, in one weekend of performances. I think we accomplished that with this lineup,” said Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival. “Our goal is to create custom programming representative of the genre that brings fans from around the world to the heart of Detroit to celebrate one-of-kind musical experiences that hopefully will resonate and inspire long after the music stops.”

To help add to the Festival lineup and showcase talent that may otherwise go unnoticed, the Detroit Jazz Festival hosts annual jazz competitions. Musicians from metro Detroit and across the globe are encouraged to participate. This year, jazz guitarists who embody Detroit’s jazz scene and offer an original sound can submit recordings for a chance to perform at the Festival as well as earn monetary prizes. Guitarists will be evaluated on overall artistry and musicality, creativity, craftsmanship and depth of vocabulary. Applications must be submitted by July 17, 2015.

Outside of Labor Day Weekend performances, the Festival also engages in year-round education initiatives dedicated to educating students and the metro Detroit community about jazz through workshops, student performances and concert showcases.

The 36th annual Festival weekend will take place in Hart Plaza and Campus Martius, downtown Detroit. With world-renowned artists taking to four stages – JPMorgan Chase Main Stage, Carhartt Amphitheater Stage, Mack Avenue Waterfront Stage and Absopure Pyramid Stage – the Detroit Jazz Festival attracts jazz enthusiasts from far and wide. In addition to fostering the exchange of art and culture in Detroit, the Festival also drives economic activity through performances and initiatives that take place throughout the year.

This year’s major corporate sponsors, who continue to keep the festival free, include Absopure, Carhartt, DTE Energy Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Mack Avenue Records and Opportunity Detroit. Individuals also can support the Festival through Rhythm Section memberships.


About the Detroit Jazz Festival

The Detroit Jazz Festival is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year. Recently voted number two in North America in a JazzTimes reader’s poll, the Detroit Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in the world and a major tourist attraction for the City of Detroit, with 23 percent of its audience coming from out of state.

The Festival receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Erb Family Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Major corporate partners include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Opportunity Detroit, Carhartt and Mack Avenue Records. Additional partners include Absopure Water Company, Comcast, Detroit Marriott, Fathead, Great Lakes Beverage, McDonalds, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Panasonic and Quicken Loans. Media partners include DownBeat, Hour Detroit, JazzTimes, MetroTimes and Fox 2. The festival’s Greening Program, now entering Phase IV, is supported by a generous grant from the DTE Energy Foundation. For more information, visit

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