Detroit Jazz Festival returns with in-person performances

As the Jazz Fest returns for its 42nd year, two jazz enthusiasts explain why the music means so much to Detroit and Detroiters.

Photo credit: Len Katz (Courtesy of Detroit Jazz Festival)

The Detroit Jazz Festival is underway from September 2-5 in Hart Plaza. As the world’s largest free jazz event, it enters its 42nd year celebrating the rich history of the genre — both within Detroit and worldwide.

It features performances from world-renowned local and international artists over the course of Labor Day weekend.

“Jazz has helped shape who we are here in this part of the country and really throughout the country in general.” — Chris Collins, Detroit Jazz Festival

101.9 WDET will carry performances from the Detroit Jazz Festival live on-air and online. Click here to stream WDET.

Listen: What Jazz Fest looks like this year in Detroit.



Chris Collins is the artistic director for the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation and director of jazz studies at Wayne State University. He says jazz maintains deep, cultural significance in and around Detroit — adding that it facilitates people to come together and share a variety of experiences.

“Detroit has fed jazz for decades,” says Collins. “Jazz has helped shape who we are here in this part of the country and really throughout the country in general,” says Collins.

Anissa Lea is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter performing on Saturday at the Detroit Jazz Fest. She says she fell in love with artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee at a young age.

“Ever since I was five years old,” says Lea, “I listened to different genres of music, but as soon as I came across jazz I instantly fell in love.”

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