2021 Detroit Jazz Festival to feature Wayne State Department of Music faculty, students and alumni

djf wsu promo 2021

The 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage is set to kick off virtually Friday, Sept. 3. The annual four-day event is the largest free premiere jazz fest in the world.

Audiences from around the world can enjoy 40+ hours of live jazz performances from custom soundstages in Detroit. Last year’s broadcast reached nearly 1 million unique viewers in 32 countries and received awards and accolades nationally and internationally.

This year’s Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater will headline multiple performances, including an opening set with the Woodshed Network Ladies and a closing night performance with her all-female big band. A variety of Wayne State University’s Department of Music faculty, students and alumni will also be featured during the event:

Saturday, Sept. 4:
Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project: 5:10-6:15 p.m.

  • Featuring Professor Chris Collins (composer/co-leader); Chuck Newsome; and WSU alumni James Hughes and Denzel Donald.

Kurt Elling’s “The Big Blind”: 6:55-8:55 p.m.

  • Featuring Professor Chris Collins; Associate Professor Russ Miller; Ron Kischuk; Dwight Adams; and WSU alumni Mark Berger and Nancy Chaklos.

Sunday, Sept. 5:
Scott Gwinell Jazz Orchestra: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  • Featuring WSU alumnus Scott Gwinell.

Monday, Sept. 6:
Keyon Harrold with the Collegiate Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra: 1:40-2:50 p.m.

  • Assembled by Professor Chris Collins, this powerhouse big band features top university students in the region, including WSU current students Tom Bartelemay, Louis Jones III, Jason Didia, Joe Palmer, Trevor Lamb, Sam Novell-Regester and alumnus Denzel Donald.

“I am so proud of the annual Wayne State presence at the Detroit Jazz Festival! Students, faculty and alumni can be heard throughout the 2021 four-day world-class event,” said Department of Music Professor and Detroit Jazz Festival President and Artistic Director Chris Collins. “It is a powerful display of the unique connectivity between WSU and Detroit’s premiere jazz event.”

Jazz enthusiasts can view or listen to performances for free in a number of ways, including the festival’s social media channels and website; public radio and TV stations; and the DetroitJazzFest LIVE! app.

For this year’s schedule, international lineup and details about the event, please visit detroitjazzfest.org.