Michigan Jazz Festival
Number represents reach distance in miles from city
Ann Arbor 45
In 1991 two big band leaders, John Trudell and Emil Moro, felt that many jazz festival organizers believed that only nationally-celebrated artists should be invited to play. They went to the Elkhart Jazz Festival in Indiana and met with bandleader Tom Saunders, who had some experience producing a festival. The Michigan Jazz Festival was about to become a reality and the first one was held at Freedom Hill in 1995. Attendance was sparse, but they dreamed on.
They knew that too many of Detroit’s jazz musicians had to leave Detroit to be recognized for their talents. The late Detroit drummer J.C. Heard once said, “Local? What does that mean? Everybody has to live somewhere.”