By Evelyn Cairns
For the 34th year, jazz aficionados will converge on Hart Plaza and Campus Martius in downtown Detroit Labor Day weekend for the Detroit Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the world.
Music lovers — 25 percent from outside of Michigan — will hear an amazing lineup of favorite jazz artists beginning Friday and continuing through Sept. 2 on four stages.
A highlight of the festival will be a series of tributes to the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck. The first will be at 6 p.m. Saturday. The second, at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 1, will feature newly commissioned arrangements of Brubeck compositions.
A third tribute at 1:45 p.m. Sept. 2 will spotlight Brubeck’s historic mass for a 65-voice choir and string orchestra, plus the Brubeck Brothers Quartet with Rick Margitza on saxophone.
A tribute to Stan Kenton featuring the Four Freshman and the Toledo Jazz Orchestra is planned for 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
Grammy Award winner Danilo Perez is the artist in residence for the festival. Considered one of the most influential and dynamic musicians of the era, he has won acclaim for his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and world music.
Among other headline performers will be the David Murray Big Band featuring Macy Gray, Joshua Redman with Strings, Yellow Jackets, John Scofield Uberjam, the Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shelia Jordan with Strings featuring the Alan Broadbent Trio.
A complete schedule of performances and more information are available by going to www.detroitjazzfest.com.
Among the festival supporters are the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural affairs, the Kresge Foundation and numerous other organizations and businesses.
The Detroit Jazz Festival is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year.
Arts and more to lure visitors
A favorite festival of metropolitan Detroiters now in its 16th year is Ford Arts Beats & Eats, which will take place in downtown Royal Oak from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 2.
Admission will be free until 5 p.m. Friday only. Otherwise, it will cost $3 daily until 5 p.m., when ad-mission will increase to $5.
On Sept. 1, free admission and a special tribute concert are scheduled for disabled veterans and their family members. The concert will feature Fifty Amp Fuse on the Michigan Lottery Stage with complimentary lunch and beverages from bd’s Mongolian Grill. Special parking and drop-off accommodations will be provided.
For passes and more information, call Jill Riddle at 248-541-7550. Recipient organizations include the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America.
The festival will feature more than 200 performances on 10 stages, a highly rated juried fine arts show, the specialties of more than 50 restaurants and 14 popular bands.
Considered one of the nation’s premier juried competitions, the art show will offer awards totaling $7,500 in a variety of media, from ceramics to paintings and sculpture. Works will be available for sale at more than 140 booths.
Among the participating eateries are the new Prime 29 steakhouse, along with such popular restaurants as the Green Lantern, Oxford Inn, Eskimo Jack’s, Trattoria Pizzeria Da Luigi, Mitchell’s Fish Market and the Polish Village Café.
Participating bands include Eleanor, Spring, Smash Mouth and Eddie Money on Friday, and Beatlemania Live, Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas, Bush Hawg and Montgomery Gentry Saturday.
Performing on Sept. 1 will be Kaleido, Ty Stone, Soul Asylum and Guster, and on Sept 2, The Jill Jack Band, Fifty Amp Fuse and Sponge.
For more information, go to www.artsbeatseats.com.
A festival spokesman said 25 percent of the proceeds will go to arts advocacy, 25 percent to the city of Royal Oak and 50 percent to area charities.
Since its inception, the festival has raised $3 mil-lion for charities, the spokesman said.
Also coming . . .
Aug. 30 — Beginning at 6 p.m., chalk artists will decorate the sidewalks in downtown Wyandotte, and businesses will offer chocolate menu items and give away chocolates; maps showing participants will be available at the clock tower (Maple and Biddle).