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Archive for
Jazz Notes With Judy Adams
December 7, 2018



Donald Byrd / Photo:



This month we honor the musical contributions and Jazz artistry of trumpeter, Donald Byrd, born Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II in Detroit on Dec. 9, 1932 and who died in Delaware on 2/4/13 at the age of 80.



World-renowned trumpeter, Donald Byrd, is one of the most successful musicians to come out of Detroit. Like so many other music greats from the motor city, he was inspired by the legendary music program at Cass Technical High School, using it to further his education even more. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University he moved to New York and received a master’s degree in music education from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.



Donald Byrd became a cross-generational, natural master of various Jazz sub-genre. He became known throughout the many facets of the Jazz world as his prolific career spanned many diverse style periods from Hard Bop to Soul Jazz and Fusion.. His calling card was his warm, pure tone and flawless technique which enabled him to play with some of the most important and influential artists and style makers in Jazz, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and drummer Art Blakey who were all drawn to his unique musical abilities.
During the 1970s he released many commercially successful albums including “Blackbyrd” in 1973, produced by the brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who had been his students at Howard University in Washington.





Donald Byrd’s “Blackbyrd” album on Blue Note Records



The album remains one of the best-selling albums in the history of Blue Note records. Yet, he received a lot of criticism from some members of the Jazz community who felt he had “sold out” because, like other Jazz artists of that period, he was fusing his music with funk grooves, R&B, world and more.


The music also utilized more amplified instruments and special effects, such as wah-wah guitar. They were merely reflecting the current music of that period which is what Jazz has done all along.



I find it sad when an artist’s peers overlook all of the great contributions many of them make while exploring new directions in Jazz. People complain that Jazz is stagnant or isn’t attracting enough young people. But, when younger artists start reflecting newer trends in music, some become offended and think that music is no longer relevant or respectful of its history.





Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock




Here is a great excerpt from the New York Times obituary on Donald Byrd. I found it very moving to read how he was inspired by John Coltrane while still in high school, and how he himself became dedicated to guiding and mentoring new artists to the art form through his work as an educator.



“His musical pursuits were paralleled by a lifelong interest in education. He taught jazz at Howard, North Carolina Central University, Rutgers, Cornell, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, and also studied law. In 1982 he received a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. He spent many years, at various institutions, teaching a curriculum that integrated math and music education.


In 2000 Mr. Byrd was given a Jazz Masters award by the National Endowment for the Arts.


In his 1998 Cornell lecture Mr. Byrd said he had been inspired by musicians who changed music, notably John Coltrane.


“I met him in the 11th grade in Detroit,” he said. “I skipped school one day to see Dizzy Gillespie, and that’s where I met Coltrane. Coltrane and Jimmy Heath just joined the band, and I brought my trumpet, and he was sitting at the piano downstairs waiting to join Dizzy’s band. He had his saxophone across his lap, and he looked at me and he said, ‘You want to play?’

“So he played piano, and I soloed. I never thought that six years later we would be recording together, and that we would be doing all of this stuff. The point is that you never know what happens in life.”


New York Times, February 11, 2013



Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.







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November 21, 2018

The saxophone is one of the most popular instruments in Jazz and one of Detroit’s most celebrated saxophonists, Dave McMurray, performs at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, December 12-15.






Always a favorite at the Dirty Dog, Dave has played with an impressive list of diverse artists during his lengthy career, ranging from The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan to Herbie Hancock, Bootsy Collins, the late Geri Allen and countless others.



He brings this musical diversity to his new album, “Music is Life”, his seventh, which was released on Blue Note records this past May, and featured in “Jazz Notes”. Each song is different with elements  ranging from Jazz, Funk, Rock, Soul and more, clearly reflecting his multi-faceted career.



The new album contains mostly Dave’s original compositions as well as covers of the White Stripes, the Parliament-Funkadelics, French singer Johnny Halladay, who Dave worked and toured with for many years and many others.



The role of the saxophone has changed a bit over the years but it remains a prominent voice that usually leads the band, “front and center”.   In fact, Jazz is where the saxophone rules.



No instrument is more identified with Jazz than the saxophone. The saxophone is to Jazz what the banjo is to Bluegrass.Its use in Jazz is pervasive, compared to its limited use in other genres. Whereas the piano isn’t associated with just one style of music and can be heard in many genres from Classical to R&B.



Aside from Jazz and marching bands where the saxophone remains a primary instrument, we can also hear it used by some 20th century Classical composers George Gershwin, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein and others.



A member of the woodwind family, the saxophone is usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece. It was invented in 1840 by Belgian, Adolphe Sax and was designed for use in military or marching bands. Marching bands had an influence on early Jazz.






Since the 1960’s the saxophone has continued to define Jazz’s signature sound.
This includes the complete choir from sopranissimo to contrabass and subcontrabass. Modern saxophonists who’ve made their mark include Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Oliver Lake, Arthur Blythe, Wayne Shorter and many others. Detroit has certainly had its share of the world’s great saxophonists including Sonny Stitt, Yusef Lateef, Pepper Adams, Charles McPherson, Kenny Garrett, and James Carter to name a few.





World renowned Detroit born saxophonist, James Carter
with a baritone saxophone.

Photo: St.Louis Public Radio






Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM





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November 8, 2018



There are so many great Jazz artists from “Detroit Jazz City”, with November birthdays.   If you thought our October birthdays were good, check out November!


KennCoxAt DJF


Kenny Cox at the Detroit Jazz Festival


Kenn Cox, November 8, 1940- December 19, 2008


Pianist/composer, Kenn Cox was a Detroit native, who, like so many other prominent musicians from Detroit, graduated from Cass Technical High School. Cass was known worldwide for it’s outstanding music department. Kenn then attended the Detroit Conservatory of Music and the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts.



Besides being a talented pianist, Cox was also proficient on bass, bassoon and trumpet. Well versed in the styles of bebop, hard bop and postbop, he started playing professionally in the late 50’s and 1960’s and was the pianist for singer Etta Jones and also played in the George Bohannon Quintet.



By the late 60’s he had formed his own group, “Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet”, which recorded two albums for Blue Note Records, “Introducing Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet” and “Multidirection”. He also recorded with such “giants” as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, Eddie Harris, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, and many others.



Kenn Cox is also featured on the relatively recent album from Blue Note called “Detroit Jazz City”, produced by Detroiter Don Was who combined tracks by Detroit Jazz legends from the Blue Note vaults with new recordings from current Jazz stars from Detroit. See album cover above for personnel.



In the 1980’s Cox created the Guerilla Jam Band, at times featuring Regina Carter, Tani Tabbal, James Carter, Rodney Whitaker, Shahida Nurallah, Donald Walden and many others. By the way, Miss Nurallah is at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in late December. Kenn Cox also helped form Strata Records, the Strata Concert Gallery and other Strata-brand ventures, which have since been given legendary status worldwide.



In the early 1970’s, Cox also produced a weekly radio program, Kaleidophone, on WDET, and was the station’s director of community access programming. I had just started working at WDET 101.9FM during that time and really enjoyed conversing with him about music, life and the world in general.



Saxophonist Billy Mitchell (November 3, 1926 – April 18, 2001)





Billy Mitchell was a tenor saxophonist who was born in Kansas City. He moved to Detroit and like Kenny Cox and so many other Jazz greats, attended Cass Technical High School to receive his early music education.



Billy Mitchell was well known for his work with some of the most well respected big bands in the country, led by such luminaries as Pontiac’s own Thad Jones, as well as Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others. He also played with Count Basie for more than seven years in the 1950’s and 1960’s.



In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he introduced vibest Bobby Hutcherson to the Jazz world and played and recorded with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band in Europe and also served as Stevie Wonder’s musical director for a short time.






Sippie Wallace (born as Beulah Thomas, November 1, 1898 – November 1, 1986) was an early Blues and Jazz singer/songwriter. Known as the “Texas Nightingale” she recorded over 40 songs for the legendary Blues label, Okeh Records, many of which she composed herself.



She sang with many well-known accompanists who are considered some of the most significant early architects of Jazz and Blues, including Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and others.



She helped define the early female blues style along with her contemporaries as she ranked with vocalists Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter and Bessie Smith.



She moved to Detroit in the 1930’s to make a career change as she devoted her time to being a church organist, and choir director at the Leland Baptist Church.



Spending nearly 40 years living in Detroit, she rarely sang secular music during this period until she was coaxed by Blues singer, Victoria Spivey to resume her career as a Blues artist during the Blues resurgence of the late 1960’s.



She recorded her album “Women Be Wise” in 1966 with Roosevelt Sykes and Little Brother Montgomery. This album and title track helped inspire Bonnie Raitt to become a Blues singer/performer in the late 1960’s, recording Wallace’s signature song, “Women Be Wise” and “Don’t Advertise Your Man” on her self-titled debut release. Bonnie Raitt loved Sippie and helped catapult her career even farther, inviting her to record and tour with her for many years. She even brought her back to Detroit to perform in the late 1970’s.



Sippie Wallace was nominated for a Grammy in 1982 and was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.



Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.  She was also born in November!

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October 29, 2018




Perhaps you’re already familiar with LA based, visionary pianist and composer, Cameron Graves, and  saw his performance at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival. Or maybe you’re a fan of saxophonist Kamasi Washington and heard Mr. Graves on his award-winning 3-disc debut album “The Epic”. Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard about Cameron Graves, who seems to be getting a lot of attention in many contemporary Jazz circles these days.



He’s one of the leaders of the thriving Los Angeles Jazz scene and is a founding member of the West Coast Get Down Collective, which supports a new “brand” of multi-faceted, progressive Jazz from such artists as saxophonist Kamasi Washington, bassist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and others. In 2017 he signed with Detroit’s own Mack Avenue records, a label with a reputation for supporting new and emerging styles, trends and artists in Jazz.





Graves’  dynamic first album as a leader, Planetary Prince (Mack Avenue), made it to my list of top recordings of 2017, and is full of original music that explores cutting edge arrangements, rhythmic patterns, and melodic structure, creatively utilizing the full capacity of the piano as a harmonic, melodic and percussive instrument. His music is so relevant and current that it is luring a new generation of Jazz fans who are  being drawn to the idiom for the first time.



Here’s what Kamasi Washington wrote about his musical colleague, and friend Cameron Graves:





“Cameron Graves is a musical genius. He has an innovative approach to the piano
that is completely unique. Cameron’s album ‘Planetary Prince’ is an amazing and
almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music, and mathematical death metal. A style so cool that it deserves it’s own genre.

Cameron’s music has been inspiring me since I was thirteen years old and it still
does today! I’m so glad he’s sharing it with the world!” – Kamasi Washington



Kudos to the Dirty Dog for treating us to a 2-night stint with one of today’s most innovative artists in Jazz.


Come hear for yourself as the Dirty Dog Jazz Café presents Graves this Friday and Saturday night, November 2 and 3 for two hot 90-minute sets each night at 7:00pm and 9:30pm.


For reservations and information, call 313-882-5299 or go to




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.




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October 11, 2018


Pepper Adams at the Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice, France, July 7, 1978



Born in Highland Park, Michigan, October 8, 1930, Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III was a Jazz baritone saxophonist and composer. A very prolific artist, he composed 42 pieces, was the leader on eighteen albums spanning 28 years, and participated in 600 sessions as a sideman.



It’s no wonder that he became a key figure of the fervent 1950’s Detroit Jazz scene before expanding his influence on a international level.



He started playing piano at a very early age and soon went on to play tenor sax and clarinet. It wasn’t until he used his employee discount while working at Detroit’s Grinnell’s music store that he bought his first baritone sax, for which he is best known.



He was soon playing with Detroit’s legendary Lucky Thompson and his band and began meeting other notables from that era, who would become future musical collaborators such as Donald Byrd. During that period he also became Music Director of Detroit’s famed Blue Bird Inn where he played with Thad Jones and other greats.



During lengthy and illustrious career he also played with all of the great musicians of the period including Kenny Burrell, Kenny Clarke, Curtis Fuller, Chet Baker and Quincy Jones. He played with John Coltrane in New York and on the album “Dakar”, and with the renowned trumpeter Lee Morgan on “The Cooker” as well.



In the 1960’s Pepper Adams continued to work with the top musicians of the idiom including Charles Mingus, Marcus Belgrave, Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton. He also worked for Motown records as a sideman during their influential years when they were developing their famous sound.





Kenny Garrett / photo by BBC


Kenny Garrett was born in Detroit on October 9, 1960; he is a 1978 graduate of Mackenzie High School, which is known for having a great music department.  His father was a carpenter who played tenor saxophone as a hobby.



With a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Kenny Garrett is one of the most important alto saxophonists in contemporary Jazz. Having played early on with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) followed by time spent with musicians and influential style makers as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has continued to bring his truly distinctive “voice” to each musical situation. He is also a gifted composer and writes and arranges most of the music on his recordings and live performances.



During his career, Garrett has performed and recorded with many other Jazz greats. This includes a life-changing five year period with Miles Davis in addition to time spent with other legendary artists who help shaped the direction of modern Jazz including , Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones and many others.





Robert Hurst / Photo:


Born in Detroit on October 4, 1964, Bob Hurst has enjoyed a magnificent career for the past 3 decades, and is a highly respected composer, electric and acoustic bassist, educator, and recording artist.



He has been one of the most respected and sought-after bassists by a diverse list of significant musicians from around the world. These include Paul McCartney, Charles Lloyd, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Terrence Blanchard, Sting, Carl Allen, the legendary Pharaoh Sanders, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson, Yo Yo Ma, Ravi Coltrane, and others. He was also a member of The Tonight Show Band.



Robert Hurst currently serves as Associate Professor of Music, with Tenure, and the Director of Small Jazz Ensembles in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan’s School of Music.



Mr. Hurst, who has graced the Dirty Dog stage many times over the years, has performed on over 150 diverse and critically acclaimed recordings. A select group of these productions have garnered him performances yielding seven GRAMMY® Awards.




Yusef Lateef / Photo


Yusef Abdul Lateef, born William Emanuel Huddleston; (October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013) was a Jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer and prominent member of the Muslim community following his conversion to Islam in 1950, becoming one of the first Jazz artists to do so.



Known primarily as saxophonist and flute player, he also played many other instruments including the oboe and bassoon and was also one of the first musicians to play an assortment of instruments from many cultures including the bamboo flute, shanai, and koto. This led to him incorporating styles into his music such as fusing Jazz with Middle Eastern and Asian music. Peter Keepnews of the New York Times wrote that Lateef “played world music before world music had a name.”



In the 1950’s he attended Wayne State University, During that period and was a leading figure of the world famous Detroit Jazz scene. Uncomfortable with the term “Jazz” he coined the word “autophysiopsychic” to describe music that comes from the physical, mental and spiritual self. The National Endowment for the Arts made him an American Jazz Master in 2010.



The multi-talented Yusel Lateef wrote several books including a collection of short stories and a novella. He also wrote his autobiography The Gentle Giant, written in collaboration with award-winning Detroit writer, Herb Boyd.






Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.




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September 24, 2018

connieHan 1



This 22 year-old Los Angeles based pianist brings her unique brand of Jazz into the Neo-Noir scene on her debut album Crime Zone, coming out on Detroit’s own Mack Avenue Records, Oct. 12th.








She grew up in a musical family environment with both parents being professional classical musicians who encouraged her to start piano lessons at age five.  She was 14 when she became interested in Jazz while at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where she connected with drummer Bill Wysaske who not only became her mentor but was also her producer on “Crime Zone”.



This multi-talented composer-pianist is comfortable playing standard acoustic piano as well as the electric Fender Rhodes which is inspired by legendary pianists, such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea from the fusion era of the 1960s and 1970s.



The new album features Han playing a mix of her own compositions and various choice covers. You’ll be able to witness a new pianist whose part of a group of new generation artists making their mark on the world Jazz scene.



It’s always exciting to discover new and fresh Jazz talent and you’ll have your chance to do so on Saturday, September 29 when Ms. Han brings her music the the Dirty Dog.


She’ll be giving us an advanced taste of the music on her new album roughly two weeks before it’s official release date.  Han is a next generation pianist who draws on many styles and time periods. Her music is both cutting edge and modern as well as Classic and traditional.



For one night only,  Connie Han, will be making a special appearance at The Dirty Dog on Saturday, September 29th in support of her upcoming, new release, Crime Zone, coming out on Mack Avenue Records, Oct. 12th.



Ms. Han will be performing two sets at 6pm and 7:30pm on. For more information call the Dirty Dog Jazz Café at 313-882-5299 or go to



Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.



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September 20, 2018


Detroit Album Profile:  Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra / Mulgrew-ology / Detroit Music Factory





Multi-talented Scott Gwinnell performs at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe October 17-20th!


Although he’s known as one of our town’s most talented pianists Mr. Gwinnell is also a composer, arranger, and educator who has been playing locally and internationally for more than 25 years.



He’s put all of these musical abilities to work on his new tribute album to the late Jazz piano icon, Mulgrew Miller. One of many new releases of Detroit Jazz artists on Detroit Music Factory records – part of the Mack Avenue Records family.



Miller is considered one of the most dynamic pianists from the 1970’s until his passing in 2013. On the album, Gwinnell focuses on Miller’s extraordinary composing and arranging skills.



The album also features Mr.Gwinnell showing off his orchestral side as he has arranged all of the tracks on the new release for his own Jazz Orchestra. This star-studded ensemble features some of Detroit’s finest Jazz artists, such as James Hughes, Steve Wood, John Douglas, Anthony Stanco and others.



It’s obvious that Scott is well connected to Detroit Jazz scene. He’s very active in Detroit’s music community, which includes being Director of Vocal Jazz Education at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Ensemble Director at the MSU Community School- Detroit, and a Lecturer at Oakland University.





Photo by John Osler



He studied with the late Detroit pianist, Bess Bonnier, early on and says his major influences include Duke Ellington, Wynton Kelly, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner.



Over the years, he has played with many acclaimed artists including Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Dave Liebman, Marcus Belgrave, Steve Turre, and many others. He also has recorded four albums of his own.



He’s a very prolific composer, having written over 300 compositions, not only for piano but also symphony orchestra, and other ensemble configurations. In 2012, Gwinell received two Detroit Music Awards for, “Best Jazz Composer”, and “Best Classical Composer.”


ScGwennll DMF


He brings these talents together on the new album tribute to Mulgrew Miller featuring the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra. It’s “Mulgrew-ology”. Check it out.





Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.






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September 7, 2018





We have covered many of these aspects in previous Jazz Notes blogs. However, we are gaining new readers all the time as Jazz itself is attracting new fans every day as increasingly more people are seeking out music with substance and depth. This is why it’s helpful for us to revisit a discussion on what sets Jazz apart from other styles. It’s definitely in a world all its own.



New Jazz fans soon discover that listening to jazz is quite different than other styles of music. There’s so much to listen for and, like other art forms, the more you understand its history, content and structure, the more you can appreciate. On the other hand, no one should feel intimidated by Jazz or any kind of music. All that really matters is if you like or not – if it “inspires” you in some way or you feel emotionally moved by it.



As we listen to Jazz we can focus on its complex harmonies, intricate rhythms, creative arrangements and other compositional elements. And, its spontaneous nature, and use of improvisation by skilled musicians, is why Jazz is so exciting, especially when performed live. Live Jazz upholds its tradition and encourages its audience to be attentive and concentrate on what they’re hearing to fully appreciate what’s going on in “real time”.




Robert Glasper’s 2018 Release “R+R=Now”



Although Jazz can be very “free”, the music for the most part, is built upon the following basic structure. Most pieces start with an introduction, followed by the theme or “head”, then each musician will take turns with their solos, reinterpreting the melody, harmonies and rhythms of the theme.



Sometimes just the “melodic” instruments, such as the saxophone, trumpet, flute, etc. will solo, etc. Other times they’ll include the rhythm section, comprised of the piano/keyboards, bass and drums. After this developmental section of solos, the theme or “head” returns to close out the piece.



It is in the solos where we hear the most significant personal artistry in Jazz –  and that is the use of improvisation. No two solos are identical because the musicians are composing on the spot, usually playing off of the basic melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structure of the piece.



This is why it’s so important to be an attentive listener. If not, you miss the true essence of the music.



This is also why there is a certain code of listening behavior with live Jazz. Listeners are encouraged to show appreciation and applaud after each solo and sometimes within the piece itself.



Seasoned Jazz fans keep their conversations to a minimum out of respect for other audience members and for the musicians themselves who are spontaneously playing, composing and communicating with each other – in the moment.



In future blogs we will explore how Jazz has preserved the live listening experience.




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.



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August 29, 2018






The 39th annual Detroit Jazz Festival takes place this Labor Day weekend at various stages in downtown Detroit. Performances are scheduled from Friday, 8/31/18 thru Monday 9/3/18 and the line-up of artists is spectacular. To find out more about who’s playing and where, go to



I’ve heard from so many Jazz fans who want to know who to see since the festival is so massive.
I decided to make a list of some of my top picks just to give folks some direction.



First of all, ALL of the music is great so you can’t go wrong, but if you are looking for some suggestions, check out my list below: “Jazz Notes” Best of the Fest for 2018!



JPMorgan Chase Main Stage (Campus Martius)




6:30 p.m. Dr. Valade’s Brass Band led by New Orleans legend, Shannon Powell 7:00


Resident Ensemble: Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding – Tribute to Geri Allen “Open On All Sides”





Esperanza Spalding



8:20–8:40 p.m. Monsieur Periné 9:00–10:15 p.m. 2018 Artist-in-Residence: Chick Corea Akoustic Band





Pianist/Composer Chick Corea performs all four days of the Festival as its “Artist-In-Residence”. Photo by





Chase Main Stage

8:00–9:15 p.m. Nicholas Payton – Afro-Caribbean Mixtape Project


Carhartt Amphitheater Stage

1:15–2:20 p.m. Wayne State University Lab Band I with Omar Sosa

3:15–4:30 p.m. Julian Lage Trio

5:15–6:30 p.m. Straight Ahead 25th Anniversary Reunion featuring: Regina Carter, Marion Hayden, Gayelynn McKinney and Alina Morr


7:15–8:30 p.m. Dr. Lonnie Smith Organ Trio


9:15–10:30 p.m. 2018 Artist-in-Residence: Chick Corea Elektric Band


Wayne State Pyramid Stage


5:30–6:45 p.m. Emmet Cohen Trio




Chase Main Stage


NOON–1:15 p.m. Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra I


2:00–3:15 p.m.


Karriem Riggins with the Detroit Jazz Fest Alumni Band and guests


4:00–5:15 p.m.


Hubtones: Freddie Hubbard 80th Birthday Celebration – Featuring: Nicholas Payton, Randy Brecker, David Weiss, and Dwight Adams 6:00–7:15 p.m. Chris Dave and the Drumhedz



8:00–9:15 p.m. Resident Ensemble: Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding – Tribute to Geri Allen with Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra and conductor Edmar Colón Giebolini “Dream Time”





Cuban pianist Omar Sosa / Photo by All About



Carhartt Amphitheater Stage


3:15–4:30 p.m. Harold López-Nussa Trio with Grégoire Maret and Pedrito Martinez


7:15–8:30 p.m. Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano


9:15–10:30 p.m. Marcus Miller


Wayne State Pyramid Stage


5:30–6:45 p.m. Ralphe Armstrong Fusion Reunion


7:30–8:45 p.m. Pat Martino Quintet





Chase Main Stage


12:45–2:00 p.m. University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble: A Tribute to Geri Allen with special guest Regina Carter


3:00–4:15 p.m. The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion


5:00–6:15 p.m. Resident Ensemble: Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding – Tribute to Geri Allen “Flying Toward the Sound”



Carhartt Amphitheater Stage


4:30–5:30 p.m. Cécile McLorin Salvant


7:00–8:15 p.m. 2018 Artist-in-Residence: Chick Corea with the Detroit Jazz Festival Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Steven Mercurio




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August 20, 2018





Veteran Guitarist, Ron English, has just released an excellent new album on Detroit Music Factory records. He is a well-respected member of Detroit’s music community who has helped shape contemporary Jazz styles since the 1960’s with a diverse repertoire covering Jazz, Blues, Avant-garde, Motown, Soul/Funk Gospel and more.



Growing up in Lansing, he came from a musical family, as his father was a guitar teacher, starting him on lessons early on. In the 1960s and 1970s he got involved in the Detroit Jazz scene at the Artists’ Workshop and started playing with the Detroit Contemporary 5 which included some of the city’s most progressive artists such as trumpeter Charles Moore, pianist Kenn Cox, Drummer Danny Spencer, bassist John Dana, and saxophonist Larry Nozero. They soon created the artist-run, now legendary, Strata Records.



His talents also got him involved in commercial gigs backing up session bands that played a variety of genre leading to his years of playing in pit orchestras for the Fisher Theatre and others, backing Broadway musicals and pop acts.



He’s also been a mainstay with the Charles Boles Quartet who’ve been playing every Tuesday at the Dirty Dog for the past several years. They play a mix of Jazz standards and originals.



Now, Mr. English is celebrating the release of his new album “Dance/Cry/Dance” on Detroit Music Factory records, a subsidiary of Mack Avenue Records. The range of styles he draws on makes the album a real treat for serious music fans.



“You have to sort of triangulate,” laughs English. “It’s in between. It’s a Jazz record. It has a relationship to dance rhythms, out in groove territory, and it uses song forms, with what I like to think are fresh and appealing melodies. But the record also emphasizes the emotional development and storytelling and dialogue in the improvised solos, within the strength of the various grooves.”



The new album celebrates English’s more than half century of composing and guitar work and features 10 tracks that are original compositions. The album also draws on his long-term relationships with the players, all of whom share parallel histories.



These include veteran Detroit musicians such as Jaribu Shahid on bass, Glenn Tucker, organ and piano, Leonard King on drums, percussionist Miguel Gutierrez, pianist Zen Zadavec, trumpeters John Douglas and Dwight Adams, Mark Kieme, saxophone and flute, saxophonists Jason Didia and Rick Steiger, Renell Gonsalves drums, Paul Onachuk and trombonist Davey Bones Lazar.



The album’s focus on “the groove” points to Ron English as a “groove master”. He and his band are so comfortable with the music it allows them to stretch out and put 150% into it. The band is loose but tight; relaxed and definitely in the groove. So, put it on and let it roll!





Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.




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