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Arts & Life

Gretchen Valade Jazz Center at Wayne State, big promise for jazz lovers

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Wayne State University has received a $7.5 million gift from Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade to transform the university’s programming, teaching and scholarship in jazz performance and education.

Chris Collins, director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State, says Valade’s support is so much more than just financial.

“Her whole life she’s loved this music. As a young woman she used to go to jazz clubs in Detroit and New York and support jazz musicians, and she really understands this music, and I have to extend that to say she really understands people… at her own jazz club she sits at the bar every night listening to the band, supporting them, talking to the artists about what’s happening. I mean it’s a very engaged person.”

Gretchen Valade is chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation, founder of Mack Avenue Records of Harper Woods, Michigan, and Los Angeles, and is owner of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe.

Chris Collins, also the artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival, tells us more about the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center in the interview above.

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