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December 28, 2016MetrotimesThe best music from in and around Detroit in 2016
May 26, Sean Blackman's 'In Transit' @ The Garden Theater
In 2010 Detroit guitarist, Sean Blackman staged In Transit , a multi-cultural blending of international musicians, ethnic dancers, and Detroit jazz masters to a sold out audience at Orchestra Hall. That concert reunited the collaborators featured on Blackman's In Transit (Complex Records, 2009), and established a format that continues today as In Transit Detroit , a monthly concert series at the Garden Theater. Each In Transit Detroit arrives at a different musical destination, and the May 26 edition, A Night in Paris , is my favorite concert of 2016.
Judy Adams, Detroit's iconoclastic radio host, helped set the mood as prelude DJ, while patrons enjoyed delicious french cuisine, presented by caterer, The Clean Plate. Blackman was joined by In Transit veterans and Detroit legends clarinetist Wendell Harrison and percussionist Larry Fratangelo. As if dropping in and out of Parisian nightclubs, the music was jazzy and juicy, as served up by enchanting vocalists Genevieve Marentette and Allison Laako. Gipsy jazz guitarist, Evan Perri delivered Django Reinhardt with requisite dexterity and style. There was just enough spontaneity and edge to flavor the evening french with friendly informal interaction with the audience.
Slight flaws included some distraction from the bar patrons and less than complimentary lighting, neither of which spoiled the marriage of Blackman's careful talent curation and superb performances.
Paris was just one stop, as the series' eight other concerts circled the globe featuring music from Africa, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Argentina, India, Spain, and Armenia. The final concert returned home with the all-star-laden Detroit Show , featuring 39 of our best artists. Happily, Blackman plans to bring In Transit Detroit back in 2017 and I look forward to any and all destinations.
— Larry King (Make Music Detroit)