Ralphe Armstrong, Thornetta Davis, and more to perform at Jazzin’ at the Vanity

Some of the top names in jazz and blues are coming to Jefferson Chalmers this weekend as part of the Jazzin’ at the Vanity festival.

The festival, which will be anchored in front of the historic Vanity Ballroom, will feature world-class jazz and blues performances across two stages. Celebrated jazz bassist Ralphe Armstrong takes to the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, and Detroit’s Queen of Blues Thornetta Davis performs at 6 p.m. Sunday. Other performers include French jazz artist Alexandre Saada & We Free; Marion Hayden Legacy Ensemble; James O’dell & TBone Paxton Octet; Brandon Williams Jazz Explorations; James Cloyd Group; Mahogany Jones; Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club; and more.

Jazzin’ at the Vanity will also feature local vendors, food, wine, and spirits, and family-friendly activities including a Kids Zone. Detroit visual artists will design live art installations inspired by collective oral histories of the Vanity Ballroom; the oral histories were collected in partnership with the Detroit Historical Society in conjunction with their Detroit 67 project.

Jefferson East, Inc.’s arm, East Jefferson Development Corporation, will lead a Community Conversation to gather input on neighborhood needs and future development in Jefferson Chalmers.

The Vanity Ballroom was a hot spot for jazz and blues music from the 1920s to 1950s and a popular gathering social space where music lovers danced to the sounds of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, the MC5 and the Stooges, who often performed at the neighborhood gem. Revitalization efforts are underway to restore the Vanity Ballroom.

Festival hours are 12-9 p.m. Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday, and the event takes place on East Jefferson Avenue between Newport and Lakewood streets, in the heart of the neighborhood’s business district. For more information, go to https://www.jazzinatthevanity.com/

Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is managing editor of Model D. Prior to joining Issue Media Group, she was a food journalism fellow with Feet in Two Worlds and WDET and has contributed to NPR, Thrillist, Eater, and a variety of other local and national publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.
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