Looking for a chance to awkwardly bump into your professors outside of the traditional classroom setting? Oh man have we got an event for you.
The annual Blues and Jazz Festival will descend on Ann Arbor all this weekend, once again featuring a diverse assortment of acts playing at venues throughout the city. To mark the festival’s 30th anniversary promoters have assembled nationally known artists from the worlds of blues, latin/salsa, fusion-funk, New Orleans, be-bop and free jazz.
The festivities kick off tonight at the Michigan Theater on East Liberty Street where Grammy Award winning pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri, known as ‘The Sun of Latin Jazz,’ will take the stage with his 11-piece La Perfecta II Orchestra. Local act Los Gato will open. Showtime is at 8 and tickets cost anywhere between $25-$40. Later that evening funky multi-instrumentalist Olu Dara will play two sets at the Bird of Paradise Jazz Club on South Main, with tickets running $25 for both the 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. sets.
Saturday at noon the party heads outdoors at Gallup Park on Fuller near Huron Parkway. Music will begin at 1 p.m., with performances all day long from the likes of local sax/flute master Paul Vornhagen, Detroit Blues queen Alberta Adams, New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band and capped off by Ms. Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine.
Local vendors, enjoying an off weekend at the Big House slide over to Gallup as well to provide food for the hungry masses.
Then the whole shebang just starts all over Sunday at noon back at the park this time with local favorites (we’re not making this up) Al Hill and the Love Butlers and The Dobbins/Chandler Quintet opening for Cajun man Tab Benoit and the late and strange Sun Ra’s enduring Arskestra carrying on the leader’s otherworldly music just as he performed it at the original festival 30 years ago. The festival will close that evening with a performance by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Saxophonist and bandleader Denson is know for his crossover collaborations with the likes of jam band mainstays String Cheese Incident and Ms. Lisa Bonet himself, Lenny Kravitz.
Tickets for each day at Gallup Park are $20 advance and $25 at the gate (students save $5 either way with student ID). Two day passes as well as complete festival package deals are also available. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations and Gallup Park tickets are also available at both the Arborland, Borders and at P.J.’s Used Records and CDs (no service charge).
For more information visit the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival website: a2.blues.jazzfest.org