New Foundation to Take Over Detroit Jazz Festival

Classic Arts News   New Foundation to Take Over Detroit Jazz Festival
Detroit's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts has turned over the operation of the Detroit International Jazz Festival to a new foundation, Music Hall announced today.

The foundation has been endowed by a $10 million donation from Gretchen C. Valade, the blue-jeans heiress and record executive who stepped in to save the 2005 edition of the festival after it lost its longtime sponsor, the Ford Motor Company.

Music Hall, which has produced the free festival since 1994, will maintain some involvement in it, managing educational efforts and presenting student groups. Several Music Hall trustees will serve on the new foundation's advisory committee.

Valade is the granddaughter of Hamilton Carhartt, who founded the Carhartt work-clothes company, and the founder of Mack Avenue Records. The record company records Gerald Wilson and trumpeter Sean Jones, among other artists.

Valade has also agreed to sponsor a new jazz series at Music Hall through Mack Avenue Records and the new Gretchen C. Valade Endowment for the Arts. Details of the new series have not yet been announced.

"I am delighted with these developments," said Alex L. Parrish, chairman of Music Hall. "This is a real step forward for Music Hall and the Detroit International Jazz Festival, but also for the city of Detroit and our area. Gretchen Valade is showing the kind of generosity and community leadership that I hope will serve as a model to many others who also have the capacity to make our community a stronger, more vibrant place to live and work."

Billed as the largest free jazz festival in North America, the festival drew about one million spectators this year after adding blues and funk performers for the first time. Jazz performers this year included Dave Brubeck, David "Fathead" Newman, McCoy Tyner, and Charles McPherson.

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