May 21, 2024

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Detroit drummer Karriem Riggins announced as Jazz Fest 2023: Video, Photos

Jazz drummer, hip-hop producer, songwriter and DJ Karriem Riggins is the Detroit Jazz Festival’s 2023 Artist in Residence. The honor is somewhat of a full-circle moment for the Detroit musician.

“It means the world to me,” he told The Detroit News ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

“It gives me an opportunity to be myself freely and present that music that’s been a part of my soul since I was four. It’s part of the community that I grew up listening to, and practicing and looking up to, so this is kind of a collage of everything I love that I want to present to the city, and to the world.”

Karriem Riggins opens the All The Way Live Tour at Russell Industrial Center Detroit.

The Detroit native says details and lineups will be announced at a later date, but he will perform at the Jazz Fest, set for downtown Detroit Sept. 1-4, with three of his projects. He will represent the music he’s known for, both jazz and hip-hop.

Riggins, 47, is a hard-working and prolific musician. He’s collaborated and performed with everyone from J Dilla to Sir Paul McCartney. The Southfield High School alum joined Betty Carter’s band when he was still a teenager, and shortly after moved to New York and played with Mulgrew Miller, Roy Hargrove, Ray Brown and eventually rapper Common, who introduced Riggins to fellow Detroit native, the late influential producer J Dilla.

Fans enjoy some music inside the bowl in Hart Plaza during the 2022 Detroit Jazz Festival.

“I got a chance to meet so many people,” he said. “Roy Hargrove came in 1992 and that’s a special year for me because that’s the year I met Gregory Hutchinson, a drummer who is one of my best friends and one of the most incredible drummers. He’s the person who saw me at a jazz fest and said ‘look, you need to meet Betty Carter.'”

“The jazz festival is just one of those places where you can actually see the people that inspire you, so many great artists have performed there and so many great artists are performing this year, so it’s a very special event,” Riggins said.

Detroit-bred drummer Karriem Riggins is the 2023 Artist in Residence at the Detroit Jazz Festival.

As he gears toward his Jazz Fest appearances, Riggins will do some touring, including a European jaunt with Diana Krall. He recently was the subject of the mini-documentary “Behind the Sleeves” on YouTube in which he talks about his collaborations with J Dilla and points to other highlights of his massive discography.

Riggins will host a master class for university and high school students at Wayne State University on April 11. See him perform during a preview event April 12 that will be livestreamed free at

More details about the lineup and other aspect of the free, outdoor Detroit Jazz Festival in downtown Detroit are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. This will be the first festival since the death of the event’s principal patron, “angel of jazz” Gretchen Carhartt Valade. The philanthropist died at the end of 2022 at age 97.

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