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Review: The Detroit Jazz Festival 2014

Free music for the stubbornly resilient--even in the rain!

The Bad Plus with saxophonist Joshua Redman, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Phil Woods, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Tia Fuller, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Barry Harris, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Randy Weston, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Tom Harrell, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Wendell Brunious (back) and Marcus Belgrave, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Cyrille Aimee, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Regina Carter, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Gary Burton, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Al Foster Quartet: Dayna Stephens (sax), Adam Birnbaum (piano), Doug Weiss (bass), Foster (drums), Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Bob Belden and Wallace Roney, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Stanley Clarke, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Ron Carter, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Alan Broadbent, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
Ramsey Lewis, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
John Pizzarelli, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
John Pizzarelli, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014
JazzTimes presents "Remembering Nat 'King' Cole" with Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli." Hosted by Mark Ruffin. Detroit Jazz Festival 2014

Rain cut short the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival on Labor Day, but it failed to douse the city’s spirit. Two hours after Stanley Clarke’s closing performance was set to begin, the audience showed no sign of budging from their seats in Cadillac Square Park, instead chanting “Stanley” and “We won’t go” as ominous clouds gathered overhead. Even when the torrential downpour began, many simply clustered under a nearby awning, lit a few cigarettes of various kinds and reminisced about School Days and Return To Forever in hopes the show would go on.

It never did, but the moment was emblematic of a city that remains stubbornly resilient despite the tempests that have struck it over the past few decades. The sheer number of t-shirts expressing Detroit pride through one slogan or another evidenced the fact that the people of The D see the festival as a chance to show off their civic pride. Proclaimed as the “world’s largest free jazz festival,” the holiday weekend-long event did just that, gathering an impressive roster of artists over four days on four outdoor stages.

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Originally Published