The Final Word

Latimer’s final word on this year’s Jazz Fest, punches un-pulled:

“There was a lot of overkill. Too many Brazilian acts. The fireworks were unnecessary. To me, the festival is becoming too diluted. I mean, it’s supposed to be a jazz festival, the operative word being jazz. I think there was even a Karaoke stage, or what appeared to be one because when I walked by it there was some person on stage who couldn't sing worth a shit. And what really pissed me off was the complete lack of avant-garde acts. Local free jazz mainstays like bassist Hakim Jami and saxophonists Skeeter Shelton and Faruq Z. Bey should make a stink. I believe there is a large contingent of people that enjoy free jazz, and they should be able to experience it at a festival that brags about being one of the best jazz festivals in the world. Personally, I would rather hear a cat like saxophonist Ken Vandermark than endure another performance by Dr. John. It appears that the festival’s organizers were trying to please everybody, which is weird because it’s the third or fourth year the free jazz artists have been snubbed. If Jazz Fest continues with the current booking mindset, it should be renamed the "Detroit International Jazz, Blues, Old School R&B, Brazilian, and Karaoke, But Absolutely No Free Jazz Allowed Festival." But that’s is just my opinion.”

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