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Detroit International Jazz Festival 2010: An Embarrassment of Riches

Downtown Detroit comes alive with countless jazz performances

Downtown Detroit was paradise for music lovers over Labor Day weekend when thousands of jazz aficionados enjoyed more than 100 intelligently programmed acts. The Sept. 3-6 event showcased talent on six stages spanning the retro swing of Defenders of the Groove, the modern mainstream of the Branford Marsalis Quartet, and the avant-garde, cerebral improvisations of Trio M. The Detroit International Jazz Festival’s 31st iteration was large and free and fabulous (members of the Rhythm Section got special seating, a meal and a few drinks for $100 a day).

The main Detroit Jazz Fest action was at Hart Plaza on Jefferson Avenue, a few minutes’ walk from the Renaissance Center. There also were performances on stages on Woodward and Monroe avenues; walking Woodward to Monroe felt like revisiting the ’60s, with vendors hawking Angela Davis T shirts, all manner of ethnic emollients, Chinese fedoras, a plethora of soul food, the occasional crepe, but sushi nowhere to be seen.

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