Press Release: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Omar Sosa, Gregory Porter, Abdullah Ibrahim Headline 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival

DETROIT The Detroit Jazz Festival, the world’s largest (and best) free jazz festival in the world, tonight announced its lineup for Labor Day weekend during a livestream preview event that included live performances from the 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater, and celebrated Cuban pianist Omar Sosa.

The Detroit Jazz Festival Livestream Preview Event presented by Michigan Hispanic Collaborative,  J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Guardians was held without an audience at the future home of the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center at Wayne State University, in Midtown Detroit.  The event also revealed the anticipated site for Dee Dee Bridgewater’s, an upcoming club style venue, dedicated to Bridgewater, located in the center’s downstairs. The Gretchen Valade Jazz Center is scheduled to open Fall 2023.

“Our 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival lineup reflects our ongoing mission to present true jazz artists and presentations that define our reputation and legacy across the globe,” said Chris Collins, president and artistic director, Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation.  “We look forward to continuing our tradition of showcasing a dynamic group of artists from various genres and generations, representing our embedded mission to present multiple facets of jazz in one festival setting.”

Bridgewater will headline multiple performances during the Festival including an opening set with protégé group, the Woodshed Network Ladies, and a closing night performance with her all-female big band.  Other highlights include performances from Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter, Abdullah Ibrahim, Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project; and Kurt Elling’s Big Blind.

Here’s a partial listing of this year’s Festival lineup:

Friday, Sept. 3

  • 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Woodshed Network Ladies
  • Herbie Hancock

 Saturday, Sept. 4

  • Matthew Whitaker Quartet
  • Kenny Barron
  • Jerry Bergonzi Quintet
  • Alicia Olatuja – “Intuition: Songs From The Minds of Women”
  • Etienne Charles – Creole Soul
  • David Binney Angeleno Quartet
  • Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project
  • Keyon Harrold presents Jazz and the Birth of Hip Hop with special guests “Elzhi”, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Chris “Daddy” Dave
  • The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6
  • Kurt Elling’s Big Blind

Sunday, Sept. 5

  • Michael Mayo
  • Roberto Fonseca
  • 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater Bill Charlap Duo
  • Abdullah Ibrahim and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra (Big Band)
  • Anat Cohen Tentet/Musical Director, Oded Lev-Ari
  • Sean Jones: “Dizzy Spellz”
  • Kenny Garrett
  • Tribute to Dave Brubeck @ 100: Brubeck Brothers Quartet – featuring Jerry Bergonzi, Detroit Jazz Festival Choir and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra
  • AZIZA featuring Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland
  • Gregory Porter

Monday, Sept. 6

  • Abdullah Ibrahim: Ekaya
  • Jimmy Greene Quintet
  • Eddie Daniels and Bob James; Exploring New Worlds
  • CELEBRATING BIRD @ 100 featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa, Terri Lyne Carrington, Adam O’Farrill, Kris Davis and Matt Penman


  • 2021 Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater Female Big Band


The full Festival schedule will be available as the event nears.


Also returning this year is “Detroit JAZZ Fest LIVE!”  For just $20, Festival attendees and out-of-towners unable to make it to the Festival can livestream performances from all four stages, all four days via their smartphone, tablet or desktop.  Additionally, the livestreaming services features select performances throughout the year from the Foundation’s year-round initiatives, Festival schedules, maps and more.  Register for the livestream at


The Detroit Jazz Festival will be held on Sept. 3 – 6.  A final decision on the Festival’s format (in person or virtual) will be made in June/July.





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 DTE Foundation, MGM Grand Detroit, Michigan Hispanic Collaborative and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.


Media partners include Fox 2 Detroit, WJR Newstalk 760 AM, WEMU-FM, DownBeat, JazzTimes, Metro Times, Michigan Chronicle, WDET-FM 101.9, WRCJ 90.9 FM and Detroit Public Television.



View full press release here: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Omar Sosa, Gregory Porter, Abdullah Ibrahim Headline 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival