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Review: Detroit Jazz Festival 2017

Artist-in-residence Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and others impress at this outstanding free fest in the Motor City

Photo from the Detroit Jazz Festival
Danilo Pérez, Wayne Shorter, John Patitucci and Brian Blade (from left) at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival (photo by Marek Lazarski)

It says something about the curatorial sharpness and magnitude of the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival when sets including the Vijay Iyer Sextet, Karriem Riggins with Esperanza Spalding, a tribute to Elvin Jones featuring Dave Liebman, and Wayne Shorter plus strings can be cancelled and a serious fan still feels sated.

Unfortunately that point was proven early Monday evening, when a no-nonsense storm swept in and washed out the second half of the day’s programming—including Shorter’s third and final set of his 2017 artist-in-residence obligations, a performance of his recent work “Emanon” with the fest’s superb house orchestra. It was a damn shame, to be sure, but to get too upset, given the absolute tragedy the weather has wrought elsewhere in past weeks, would be in bad taste. And things had gone so well up to that point.

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