A night of duos on DSO's Paradise Jazz Series: Charles Lloyd and Gerald Clayton, plus Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedrito Martinez, March 20

- Just announced: opera star Denyce Graves and Erb Jazz Chair Terence Blanchard will appear at post-concert discussion about Blanchard’s “opera in jazz” Champion, which comes to Michigan Opera Theatre March 28 – April 5

Detroit, (March 10, 2020) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) Paradise Jazz Series continues with a one-night-only concert of duo performances.

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd makes his Paradise Jazz Series debut in a rare duo performance with pianist Gerald Clayton. On the same bill, pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and percussionist Pedrito Martinez team up for a set of Cuban classics and original compositions.

The concert takes place Friday, March 20 at 8 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit). The Civic Jazz Orchestra, comprising jazz students from the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles, will perform prior to the concert beginning at 6:30 p.m.

After the concert, opera star Denyce Graves and Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair Terence Blanchard will participate in a discussion moderated by Mark Stryker about Blanchard’s “opera in jazz” Champion. Michigan Opera Theatre presents Champion March 28 – April 5. Graves performs the role of Emelda Griffith in the opera; Stryker, the former Detroit Free Press journalist, is the author of Jazz From Detroit and Destiny: 100 Years of Music, Magic, and Community at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.

See below for more information, including ticketing details, about these events.

The Paradise Jazz Series celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019-2020, concurrent with the centennial year of Orchestra Hall. The series is named for and honors the legacy of the Paradise Theatre, the jazz and blues venue that Orchestra Hall became from 1941-1951. The DSO is one of few major orchestras worldwide to present a jazz series on its main stage.

The Paradise Jazz Series is made possible with support from Cadillac, TCF Bank, and MGM Grand Detroit.

Please note: the DSO does not appear on this performance.

About Charles Lloyd

Charles “Chas” Lloyd is a jazz saxophonist and composer who maintains an active recording and touring schedule. His “new” quartet includes Jason Moran (piano), Reuben Roger (bass), and Eric Harland (drums). They have released two recordings on ECM: Rabo de Nube (2008) and Mirror (2010).

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Lloyd began playing the saxophone at age 9 and studied music with pianist Phineas Newborn. He began playing in Newborn’s band at age 12 and worked as a sideman for blues artists like B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnnie Ace, and others. His closest high school friend was trumpeter Booker Little.

Lloyd moved to Los Angeles in 1956 and earned a mater’s degree in music from the University of Southern California. He performed with several jazz luminaries in the 1950s and 60s, including Gerald Wilson, Chico Hamilton, Gabor Szabo, Cannonball Adderly, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Known for pushing the boundaries of jazz, Lloyd is now considered a pioneer of Jazz Fusion. He formed a quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette that earned great accolades from jazz and rock fans alike with their album Forest Flower: Live at Monterey. The quartet was the first jazz group to perform at The Fillmore in San Francisco.

After the quartet disbanded in 1970, Lloyd semi-retired and took occasional session work, especially with rock bands. He can be heard on recordings by The Doors, Canned Heat, and the Beach Boys; the latter group invited Lloyd to join them on tour as well as in the studio.

Lloyd rededicated himself to music after a near-death experience in 1986 and began recording for ECM. Notable records include Fish Out of Water, Canto, Voice in the Night, The Water is Wide, and Lift Every Voice. Lloyd’s collaborators during this period includes Bobo Stenson, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen, Anders Jormin, Billy Hart, Billy Higgins, John Abercrombie, Larry Grenadier, Geri Allen, Eric Harland, and Zakir Hussain. Harland and Hussain continue to perform with Lloyd as the Sangam Trio, originally formed in 2004.

About Gerald Clayton

Jazz pianist and composer Gerald Clayton, son of beloved musician John Clayton, is a four-time Grammy-nominee and member of The Clayton Brothers. He studied at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, the University of Southern California, and the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers include piano icon Billy Childs and NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron.

Clayton’s discography includes Two Shade (2010), Bond: The Paris Sessions (2012), Life Forum (2013), and the Clayton Brothers’ The New Song and Dance. In 2015 he was named musical director of Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour, a project that has featured his trio along with Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, and Raul Midón.

Clayton is honored to collaborate with a diverse and distinctive group of artists, including Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kendrick Scott, John Scofield, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dianne Reeves, and many others. He has enjoyed a close artistic bond with Charles Lloyd since 2013.

About Alfredo Rodríguez & Pedrito Martinez

Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedrito Martinez are both Cuban-born musicians who moved to the United States and melded the music of their homeland with a wide variety of influences, each in a deeply personal way.

A child prodigy, Rodríguez studied classical piano and was discovered by his future mentor and producer Quincy Jones at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival. Martinez, nearly a decade Rodríguez’s senior, honed his percussion skills on the streets of Havana and won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Afro-Latin Hand Drum Competition in 1998. He then founded the Latin fusion group Yerba Buena.

Rodríguez first collaborated with Martinez after catching his set at a jazz festival. Martinez contributed percussion and vocals to two tracks on Rodríguez’s album The Invasion Parade, his second entry on Mack Avenue Records. They paired up for a stint at the Jazz Standard and a short tour in early 2017.

Now, Rodríguez and Martinez have released their first full album as a duo. Duologue was released on Mack Avenue Records on February 1, 2019 and finds the pair exploring a range of moods and influences, from Cuban classics to collaborative original compositions and a number of unexpected favorites.

Most of the original pieces on the album originated with Rodríguez, who would record rough demos on his phone, then send the files to Martinez to compose lyrics and rhythmic patterns. The tunes were further solidified in true collaboration between Rodríguez and Martinez during a weeklong rehearsal period in Los Angeles prior to recording, then polished by veteran producer Quincy Jones.

“What makes this duo completely different is that I came from the folkloric side and Alfredo came from the classical side,” Martinez says. “You put those things together and you come out with an extraordinary and different sound.”

Event and Ticket Information

6:30 p.m. in Orchestra Hall: Civic Jazz Live

Under the direction of Vincent Chandler, the Civic Jazz Orchestra performs on the Orchestra Hall stage prior to the Paradise Jazz Series concert.

Admission is FREE for all Paradise Jazz Series ticketholders. General admission tickets are $15.

8 p.m. in Orchestra Hall: Charles Lloyd & Gerald Clayton | Alfredo Rodríguez & Pedrito Martinez

Tickets start at $19.

10 p.m. in The Cube:  Late Night Opera Experience with Terence Blanchard and Denyce Graves

Presented in collaboration with Michigan Opera Theatre, Mark Stryker will moderate a late-night chat with opera star Denyce Graves and Terence Blanchard about the Detroit debut of Champion – Blanchard’s “opera in jazz.” Graves will also treat guests to a few selections from the opera.

$5 General Admission tickets for Paradise Jazz Series ticketholders to 8 p.m. concert

$10 General Admission

$39 VIP Experience (includes reserved cabaret seating and 1 FREE drink)


Tickets for all three events can be purchased at dso.org, by calling (313) 576-5111, or in-person at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit).

Groups of 10 or more can save up to 30% on the price of a single ticket for most DSO concerts. For more information, contact Group Sales Manager Jim Sabatella at (313) 576-5130 or jsabatella@dso.org.

About the DSO

The most accessible orchestra on the planet, the acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and a deep connection to its city. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the organization. In January 2020, Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director to commence with the 2020-2021 season. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who concluded a decade-long tenure at the helm in 2018, now serves as the DSO’s Music Director Laureate, endowed by the Kresge Foundation. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while the outstanding trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, the DSO offers a performance schedule that features Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall celebrates its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in eight metro area venues, as well as a robust schedule of eclectic multi-genre performances in its mid-size venue The Cube, constructed and curated with support from Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings. A dedication to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.