A nice night on the river as jazz fills the air … and all for free. What a calm and enjoyable way to spend a night in September.

That day dream will be a reality as Jefferson East Inc. (JEI) once again puts on its annual Jazzin’ on the River on Saturday, September 17.

You can catch the hep-cat tunes at Ford Park, 100 Lakewood St. on the Detroit River in Jefferson-Chalmers, from noon-8 p.m.

“This is such an important event for our residents, and it also highlights the riverfront and canal communities we have over here,” says Joshua R. Elling, executive director at JEI. “People are always amazed by how gorgeous Alfred Brush Park is – it’s one of the prettiest waterfront views in the city.”

There’s a new event this year – a cross-border after-party celebration. The goal of the party is to bring the area closer to their neighbors in Grosse Pointe Park.

It will feature Rodney Whitaker, renowned jazz bassist and professor of jazz bass at Michigan State University, and other jazz musicians.

The after-event shindig happens at 9 p.m. at Atwater in the Park, 1175 Lakepointe in Grosse Pointe Park.

“We are so happy to join with our Grosse Pointe Park neighbors for the after-party. It’s good to celebrate of our shared resources and interests. It’s an important partnership and we are excited to see it grow,” Elling says.

This year’s Jazzin’ on the River will also feature:

  • Children’s activities and playground
  • Historic bus tours at 10 a.m. and noon, hosted by the Southeast Waterfront Neighborhood Association: Buy tickets here
  • Fine Caribbean cuisine from Demiart Gourmet/ Norma G’s
  • Kayak canal tours hosted by Detroit River Sports

There will be three kayak tour times available. Each group will receive a half hour of kayak skills instruction and a one hour tour with a staff member who will guide the trip. Each trip is limited to 10 participants.


At A.B. Ford Park (noon-8 p.m.)

  • 2-3 p.m. The Kuumba Reunion Band
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. The Marcus Elliott Quartet
  • 5-6 p.m. The Rayse Biggs Band
  • 6:15 p.m. Drummers of the African Diaspora (DAD)
  • 7 p.m. The Thornetta Davis Band

After-party at Atwater in the Park in Grosse Pointe Park 

  • Rodney Whitaker Quartet featuring vocalist Rockelle Fortin
  • Paul Carey
  • All-star blues review

Here’s your chance to sit and enjoy an American art form free of charge, followed by a party to bridge across borders. That is something beyond words, and only experience can show this side Detroit.


Share this post