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Labor Day Weekend is nearly here, and that means the Detroit Jazz Festival is steadily buzzing into gear.

Jazz fusion guitarist Pat Metheny, who is also serving as the Artist-in-Residence for this year's festival, will be the headlining act. He will be performing four times throughout the event with a number of equally talented musicians such as Detroit-born bassist Ron Carter, who will be doing an acoustic duo with Metheny. He will also be joined by his trio for a set, and will be premiering his multi-movement/multi-media tribute to Eberhard Weber with the Detroit Jazz Festival Big Band and String Orchestra.

Other national headliners for the festival include saxophonist Kenny Garrett's Quintet, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, drummer Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, and pianist Danilo Pérez.

This year's festival will be another fun, musical-filled experience, and no doubt will feature a number of jazz legends, who artistic director Chris Collins makes sure is highlighted every year.  

Listed below are a few top picks if you plan on attending this weekend’s festival, September 4-7.

1. Pat Metheny & Ron Carter Duo

5:15pm, Sunday, on the Wayne State University Pyramid Stage 

When two jazz icons like Pat Metheny and Ron Carter perform together, there is bound to be some electric magic in the room. The two musicians will be leading an intimate acoustic session during the festival, which will surely be a treat considering their vast experience and expertise in jazz. Metheny is 20-time Grammy award winning artist who has sold millions of records, and Carter is one of the most influential bassists in jazz and has been recording and performing since the 1960s.

2. "For Lady Day" Tribute to Billie Holiday

1:30pm, Saturday, on the JPMorgan Chase Main Stage

This year, the incomparable jazz vocalist Billie Holiday would have turned 100-years-old. Her bold and dramatic yet elegant sound influenced countless musicians, including Detroit vocalists Joan Belgrave, Ursula Walker and Jeannine Course-Miller, who will be paying tribute to her during the festival. Belgrave and Walker, both staples on the Detroit jazz scene, are well versed in Holiday's repertoire, so it will be interesting to see what type of spin they will put on her classic tunes. The vocalists will be accompanied by the Wayne State University Big Jazz Band.

3. Danilo Pérez

5pm, Sunday, on the Carhartt Amphitheater Stage

Pianist Danilo Pérez served as 2013 Artist-in-Residence for the Detroit Jazz Festival, so it will be exciting to have him back to grace us with his dynamic presence. This time around, Pérez will be premiering the Detroit World Suite, which is a large ensemble work inspired by his residence position at the 2013 festival. For over 20 years, Pérez has remained one of the most creative contemporary jazz pianists in the business, and in addition to leading his own trio, he is also a longtime member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet.

4. The Kenny Garrett Quintet

8:30pm, Saturday, on the JPMorgan Chase Main Stage

Alto Saxophonist Kenny Garrett always stirs up a crowd, especially when he returns to his hometown to perform. The Detroit native will be leading his quartet during the festival, as well as performing with Pat Metheny during the opening set on Friday night.

5. Christian Scott Sextet

6:15pm, Monday, on the Wayne State University Pyramid Stage

There are quite a few young, innovative jazz musicians who are constantly pushing the boundaries of the sound to new heights. Trumpeter Christian Scott is one of those musicians, and his musical style consists of a fusion of genres including funk, hip-hop, rock and soul, all of which he grew up listening to. He hails from New Orleans, where jazz has its roots, so he is following in the footsteps of other New Orleans greats like Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis. He has performed at the festival several times over the years, and this time he will be joined by his sextet.  

The Detroit Jazz Festival takes place from September 4-7 in downtown Detroit at Hart Plaza. Performances run on Friday night, 7-11pm; Saturday, 11:30am-11pm; Sunday, 11:30am-10pm; and Monday, 12-8pm. For a full schedule of performances during the 36th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, click here

By Veronica Grandison.

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