Detroit's proud role in the history of jazz music - FOX 32 News Chicago

Detroit's proud role in the history of jazz music

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Jazz, a style that put Detroit and its musicians on the map, will be brought back to the city on Labor Day weekend for the annual Detroit Jazz Festival.

From its beginning in the early 1900s in New Orleans, Jazz found its way up north where it was transformed here in Detroit.

"We had more theater seats and clubs and entertainment venues than New York City," says Chris Collins, the festival's artistic director and director of jazz studies at Wayne State University.

"When you tell people you're from Detroit -- the musicians -- whether they know you or not, they have an immediate sense of respect because the city holds a reputation in the history of Jazz," says Collins.

The foundation of this festival teaches fundamentals of jazz to young musicians in schools all over Detroit.

The Jazz Festival is sponsoring a national talent search for saxophonist and jazz arrangers. The winners will get five thousand dollars and a chance to perform at the festival.

The best part about the festival is that visitors don't have to spend a dime; it's free.

"When the Detroit Jazz Festival came to town and I was able to go down he plazas and hear all my heroes play, it inspired me. I got to meet these people that I only knew on vinyl, "said Collins. "That motivation, that gift, to other young people and other families in our city and we're only going to be able to do that if we keep it free so that everyone can walk in the door and get to see this incredible display of three and a half days of the greatest jazz there is on the planet."

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