“The Detroit Jazz Festival, which takes place over the Labor Day Weekend, is not the only free jazz festival in the world — there are several — but it might be the biggest. Guitarist Pat Metheny, this year’s Artist-in-Residence, calls it “the hippest jazz festival in the world.”
According to organizers, the 36th edition, which ended Sept. 7, attracted approximately 275,000 attendees over the course of its four days, a 25% increase over last year’s festivities. (Specific attendance figures are difficult to compile given that it’s a ticketless event.) But as the programming proved, it’s not the quantity, but the quality that counts.
Metheny, who played in four different settings, including two with his dynamic drummer Antonio Sanchez and his mentor Gary Burton, was most certainly the biggest draw. His Sunday evening duet with Detroit native Ron Carter at the Wayne State University Pyramid stage was so packed that latecomers could only hear, but not see, what emanated from the concaved arena.“