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    Detroit Jazz Festival scrambles to become a virtual event


    With big names like Herbie Hancock, Kurt Elling, Gregory Porter and artist-in-residence Dee Dee Bridgewater on board, the 2021 edition of the Detroit Jazz Festival will stream live around the globe starting Friday.

    The world’s largest free jazz festival is typically held outdoors in downtown Detroit on Labor Day weekend, but was forced at the last minute to become a virtual event again this year as a result of a surge in COVID-19 cases brought on by the delta variant. The four-day event, sponsored by Rocket Mortgage, will be streamed live from three sponsored soundstages at downtown’s Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center under COVID-19 protocols. No audiences will be present for the performances.

    Hometown favorites such as Zen Zadravec, Pamela Wise, the Scott Gwinell Jazz Orchestra and Tyson Haynes are in the lineup as well as international acts like the Anat Cohen Tentet with musical director Oded Lev-Ari and Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project.

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