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Review: Detroit International Jazz Festival 2012

Rollins, Blanchard, Wynton and Metheny are among the highlights

Terence Blanchard in performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Drummer Kobie Watkins in performance with Sonny Rollins at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Sonny Rollins in performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Louis Hayes performing at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Wynton Marsalis performing with his quintet at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Joey Baron in performance with Soundprints at 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Dave Douglas in performance with Soundprints at 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Joe Lovano in performance with Soundprints at 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Jerry Bergonzi in performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Skyline on the scene at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Renee Rosnes interviews members of the Wayne Shorter Quartet (Danilo Pérez, Wayne Shorter, John Patitucci and Brian Blade) in session at Talk Tent at 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Wayne Shorter and John Patitucci in interview session at Talk Tent at 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Wayne Shorter in interview session at Talk Tent at 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
Bassist Carlos Henriquez and Wynton Marsalis during performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival

The 33rd annual Detroit International Jazz Festival was long on big names, U.S.-oriented but still diverse, and, as usual, way too stuffed with talent to cover as a whole. Trying to get from an act performing at Campus Martius off Cadillac Square to one playing Hart Plaza by the Detroit River was a major challenge, particularly when both were on at the same time.

That’s a pleasant problem to have, the kind that typifies an embarrassment of riches like this, billed as the largest free jazz festival in the world. The place was thronged from the start on Friday, Aug. 31, when artist-in-residence Terence Blanchard and his quintet played the JP Morgan Main Stage, followed shortly by Sonny Rollins. The crowds held through the end on Labor Day, nearly 80 acts later. The weather was warm but cooperative.

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Originally Published