Learning from the Pros

Jazz Pianist Hank Jones will play and talk in the Jazz Tent 

Jazz Pianist Hank Jones will play and talk in the Jazz Tent

If you’ve ever had the chance to sit in on a master class, you can learn quite a lot to improve your own playing.   (Once you get past the point of being glad YOU aren’t the person whose playing is being critiqued in public!!)

The folks who are running the Detroit Jazz Festival this year (September 4-7, 2009)  are making sure there are lots of opportunities for musicians like us to interact with the people performing in the fest.    A whole series of “converations” are planned in the Jazz Fest Tent during the festival.   Check out the schedule here.

Sax player and composer Wayne Shorter

Sax player and composer Wayne Shorter

While Jazz is not my first musical choice, I am intrigued by the opportunity to hear from 91-year-old jazz pianist Hank Jones and the discussion on the Detroit Piano Tradition on Saturday.   My husband, the sax player, will no doubt want to hang out Sunday to hear Wayne Shorter and on Monday for the Byrd in Flight session.

This year’s festival is in new hands, and is being directed by the same folks who run Mack Avenue Records and the Dirty Dog Cafe in Grosse Pointe — which means they are first-class jazz fans who appreciate good musicianship.

The Jazz Fest is a great event.  And the tent talks are free.  If money’s tight, it’s a great way to be inspired while expanding your musical knowledge.


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