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Hip-Hop Artist "Common" Added to Detroit Jazz Fest Line-Up to Detroit drummer Karriem Riggins
(Published: August 10, 2011)

Detroit Jazz Festival organizers have saved their biggest lineup surprise for last: Hip-hop artist and actor Common will join Detroit-native drummer Karriem Riggins for a special performance on the final day of the free, annual Labor Day festival, artistic director Terri Pontremoli told the Free Press today.

"Common's this deep-thinking poet and a really big movie star and Karriem's just so unbelievably talented," Pontremoli said of the just-announced collaboration. "We're beyond thrilled that we were able to step outside of the box and deliver to Detroit this unique ensemble performance that will appeal to our traditional fans while also attracting new people."

Pontremoli said that she connected with the now Los Angeles-based Riggins after pianist and composer after Dave Brubeck had to cancel his Sept. 5 performance due to health reasons.

Riggins is a rarity --- a musician with the highest-level skills and equal street cred in straight-ahead jazz (where he's worked with Ray Brown, Mulgrew Miller and countless others) and hip-hop (where he's produced for the late Detroiter J. Dilla and Kanye West). He added hip-hop beats and a DJ to a post-bop band at the jazz festival two years ago, but a collaboration with a star on the level of Common elevates the potential marriage of idioms to a new level.

Common, 39, is the highest profile hip-hop artist to appear at the jazz festival. The Chicago-based rapper, who also has worked with Dilla and West, is due to release his ninth solo album later this year. With film roles in 2010's "Just Wright" and "Date Night," Common was welcomed by President Barack Obama to the White House's "Evening of Poetry" in May.

Pontremoli added that plenty of special guests could be a part of the Karriem Riggins Ensemble performance, too.

"This performance is going to be filled with wonderful music that straddles the worlds of hip-hop, soul and jazz."

The Karriem Riggins Ensemble with Common is scheduled to perform at 4:45 Sept. 5 at the JPMorgan Chase Main Stage.


More Information: http://detroitjazzfest.com

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