Listen to a Sample of Detroit Jazz Festival’s Historic Archives

Host Stephen Henderson speaks with the President of the Jazz Festival, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Each Labor Day weekend, Hart Plaza swings with the sounds of the Detroit Jazz Festival. But you might not realize that those sounds are also being recorded and archived, and have been for years.

Chris Collins, the President of the Detroit Jazz Festival, joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to talk about the fest and the importance of the recordings. 

“These are historical moments, for our city, for our audiences and for the artist as well,” Collins says. “We’ve captured final performances of artists at the festival, first performances of artists that go on to become significant.”

The Detroit Jazz Festival is the world’s largest free jazz festival, spanning from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the fest, and there will be a special reunion line-up to commemorate. The lineup includes Stanley Clarke, Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Ron Carter and Terence Blanchard. The fest takes place on Friday, August 30th through Monday, September 2nd

Click on the player above to hear the full conversation and a clip from the festival archives.


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