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The Detroit Jazz Festival to Showcase Hometown Artists; Performances by Pharoah Sanders and Robert Glasper

The Detroit Jazz Festival Presented by Rocket Mortgage to Showcase Hometown Artists; Performances by Pharoah Sanders and Robert Glasper

‘JUSTICE’ Tribute to Kick Off Friday’s Opening Night

The Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage today announced the new 2020 virtual event lineup. The sterling roster features live performances from mostly Detroit-area artists plus special sets by jazz luminaries including Pharoah Sanders and Robert Glasper. The Festival will take place Labor Day weekend from Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7.

Jazz enthusiasts can access the live performances for free on the Festival social media channels (Facebook LiveInstagram) and on Channel 22, the city’s new Arts and Entertainment Channel. Live performances will also be carried by Detroit Public Television, WRCJ 90.9 FM, WEMU 89.1 and WDET 101.9fm. In addition, the entire festival programming will be available on the proprietary Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE! app. available on the App Store and Google Play.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our Detroit talent, our Detroit sound, to the global jazz community,” said Chris Collins, Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation president and artistic director.

“The lineup of Detroit jazz legacy artists, coupled with the up-and-coming generation of jazz revolutionaries will provide an exciting jazz journey through Detroit’s past, present and future.”

On Friday opening night, the Festival will kick off with an ensemble piece named “JUSTICE,” a timely tribute to the fight to end racism, the quest for equal rights and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis who recently passed.

“As the country continues to struggle with its commitment to racial equality during a global pandemic, we found it befitting to produce a tribute to this pivotal time in American history and hopefully, allow the power of music to inspire change for better,” says Collins.

Scheduled live performances include:

Friday, Sept. 4 (6:15 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.)

  • JUSTICE: Sister Strings: Roots, Voice & Drums, Detroit Jazz Fest All-Stars Generations Band, Michael Jellick Sextet, Robert Hurst presents The Black Current Jam Band
  • Lulu Fall and the Kris Johnson Group
  • Pharoah Sanders: Icon
  • Legacy Artists: Ursula Walker and Buddy Budson

Saturday, Sept. 5 (11:20 a.m. – Midnight)

  • Tartarsauce Traditional Jazz Band
  • Alex Harding: Afro Horn
  • Ron Di Salvo Trio
  • Dr. Prof. Leonard King Orchestra
  • Gayelynn McKinney & McKinney Zone
  • Sabbatical Bob
  • Aguanko
  • Rodney Whitaker Septet w/ Vocalist Rockelle Fortin feat. the Music of Count Basie and Billie Holiday
  • Steve Turre Quintet
  • Something to Live For – Music of Billy Strayhorn

Sunday, Sept. 6 (11:20 a.m. – Midnight)

  • Collegiate Combo Competition Winner
  • Sven Anderson – Doc’s Holiday
  • The Rayse Biggs Collective
  • The Dave Bennett Quartet
  • Beartrap
  • Sean Dobbins Trio
  • Sister Strings: Roots, Voice & Drums
  • Robert Hurst presents The Black Current Jam Band
  • Walter White Big Band
  • Michael Jellick Sextet

Monday, Sept. 7 (11:20 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.)

  • Marion Hayden: Detroit Legacy
  • David McMurray
  • Joan Belgrave presents: The Marcus Belgrave Legacy Ensemble
  • Joey Alexander Trio
  • The Curtis Taylor Quartet
  • Call Al
  • Henry Conerway III
  • Rene Marie & Experiment in Truth
  • Robert Glasper


The Festival, which will be held without audiences, will offer a new virtual format in recognition of current city, state and federal safety guidelines for public gatherings during the pandemic.

Details of the new format:

  • The 2020 Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage will take place on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4 – 7, on three large indoor sound stages at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Each stage will mimic the size, sound, lighting, crew and gear of traditional Festival stages. All performances will run contiguously and will be closed to onsite audiences.
  • Each soundstage will be captured by a three-camera shoot in HD audio/video. Broadcast specialists, directors and specialized crews will maintain the excellence in artist and audience experiences for which the Festival is known and what Detroit and jazz audiences around the world deserve.
  • The programming includes opening night followed by nearly 12 hours per day of live/real-time continuous jazz performances and programming streamed to various formats including a free public video/audio stream, maintaining our mission to keep the Festival free and available to everyone (except for opening night).

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has developed extensive health and safety protocols and collected data from related travel entities to ensure the artists’ health is protected and isolation maintained throughout their Detroit Jazz Festival experience. Below is a list of some of our integrated protocols and additional info:

  • All Festival staff/crew/techs/interviewers will be in PPE and temperature tested daily.
  • All hotel rooms, rehearsal rooms and sound stages will be located within the Marriott complex further maintaining artists’ health and safety by eliminating travel outside the controlled Marriott environment.
  • Scheduled rehearsals and performances will be organized to allow maximum physical distancing. Rehearsal spaces, green rooms and all artist contacted equipment will be disinfected between each rehearsal/performance.
  • The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has established an on-stage plan for all performing bands based social distancing and current industry health and safety protocols.

About the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation 

Under the leadership of President and Artistic Director Chris Collins, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year. The Foundation produces the Detroit Jazz Festival, which is the signature event for the Foundation and the largest free jazz festival in the world. The Festival is also a major tourist attraction for the City of Detroit, with 26 percent of its audience coming from out of state. For more information, visit

The Foundation receives grant funding from the Kresge Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Arts Midwest, D’Addario Foundation and Carolyn Wanzo and the Purify Wanzo CTAA Endowment at Wayne State University. Hundreds of individuals also contribute to the Festival through membership and donations.

Major corporate partners include Presenting Sponsor Rocket Mortgage, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., DTE Foundation, Carhartt, Inc., Mack Avenue Music Group, Absopure, Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe and Comcast Cable. Additional partners include AARP, AMTECH International, Andiamo, Bedrock Detroit, Bingham Legal Group, Central Michigan University, Cliff Bell’s, Creative Day Technologies, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Display Group, Domino’s, Fifth Third Bank, George Johnson & Company, Giffels Webster, Grand Valley State University, Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, Oakland University, Pepsi, Plante Moran, SMART Bus, Schupan SustainAbility™, Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit, Stella Artois, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Wayne State University and Woodward Gallery.

Media partners include Fox 2 DetroitWJR Newstalk 760 AMWEMU-FMDownBeatJazzTimesMetro TimesMichigan ChronicleWDET-FM 101.9WRCJ 90.9 FM and Detroit Public Television.

About Quicken Loans / Rocket Mortgage

Detroit-based Quicken Loans is the nation’s largest home mortgage lender. The company closed nearly $145 billion dollars of mortgage volume across all 50 states from in 2019. In late 2015 Quicken Loans introduced Rocket Mortgage, the first fully digital mortgage experience. Today, 98% of all home loans originated by Quicken Loans utilize Rocket Mortgage Technology.

Quicken Loans moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010. Today, Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies employ more than 18,000 full-time team members in Detroit’s urban core. The company generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix. Quicken Loans also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked highest in the country for customer satisfaction for primary mortgage origination by J.D. Power for the past ten consecutive years, 2010 – 2019, and also ranked highest in the country for customer satisfaction among all mortgage servicers the past six consecutive years, 2014 – 2019.

Quicken Loans was once again named to FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2019 and has been included in the magazine’s top 1/3rd of companies named to the list for the past 16 consecutive years. In addition, Essence Magazine named Quicken Loans “#1 Place to Work in the Country for African Americans.”

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