Karriem Riggins, a native of Detroit, has been named the artist-in-residence for the 2023 festival, which will take place in downtown Detroit from September 1–4 over Labor Day weekend. The announcement was made by the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation at the early hours of Tuesday 14th March.
Riggins, a well-known jazz drummer, producer, DJ, and Emmy winner, will devote the entire year to helping out with community involvement projects and student educational programmes related to the jazz festival. Throughout the festival’s Labor Day weekend run, he will also play in a number of different styles and musical settings.
Jazz was a constant presence in Riggins’ Southfield upbringing; his father, Emmanuel Riggins, performed with legends like guitarist Grant Green and Marcus Belgrave, a Detroit native who would later serve as a mentor to the younger Riggins. He started recording with pianist Mulgrew Miller’s trio when he was 20 years old, and later spent a lot of time working with trumpeter Roy Hargrove and bassist Ray Brown. He became good friends with important Detroit hip-hop producer J Dilla and performed on both of his albums, “Welcome 2 Detroit” and “The Shining.”
Riggins is a representative of a new generation of jazz leadership, according to Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. Collins also noted that jazz is constantly evolving, which is what makes it such a unique and timeless kind of music.
“His artistry, energy, transcending jazz style and presence will create an exciting showcase of talent and diverse tapestry coming from the festival stages,” Collins said.
Speaking of the DJFF designation Riggins said, “I’m very, very extremely honored. I feel like just being in this position is a blessing, so I want to be able to spread out through the music and present it to my city, Detroit, which I love.”