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Pop / Rock 10/08/2004

Detroit's Motor City Boogie Woogie & Blues Festival headlines Maria Muldaur in an historic Retro - Vaudeville Show

DETROIT (AMCBWB festival announcements) - The 6th Annual Motor City Boogie Woogie and Blues Festival scheduled for Saturday, October 16th 2004 will feature more "firsts" this year. Blues and jazz diva, Maria Muldaur is teaming up with Grammy nominated producer Ron Harwood to record a historic album.
This will be a rare testimonial to the great Classic Blues singers of the '20s with an 8 piece jazz band that culminates in a made-for-PBS special taped during the Motor City Boogie Woogie and Blues Festival to be held at the Historic Redford Theatre. Reports are that joining Maria on this album will be Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. Also sharing the headline spot will be the Memphis piano and vocal "phenom" Jason D. Williams, the living example of Boogie Woogie's transition to early Rock 'n Roll. If you have never seen Jason - see him live at the Redford!!

Joining Maria and her band leader, Professor James Dapogny, on the bill will be Prairie Home Companion's own - and renowned piano virtuoso - Butch Thompson. Detroit's very own sweetheart on the keys, Alma Smith will round out the bill.
But hold on! The Public Television live performance will also be a re-creation of the original Vaudeville style shows held in one of Michigan's only surviving and restored Vaudeville movie palaces - The Redford Theatre. Tuxedoes and feather boas will be the dress for the performers.

The boogie-blues festival organizers also have secured a deal to record and air the concert and footage from its 2003 show on WTVS public television this year. The festival has been produced and run on the steam of the American Music Research Foundation (AMRF) over the years. AMRF and the festival is the brainchild of Ron Harwood, founder and long-time musical entrepreneur. Harwood has invested many years as friend, confidant and collaborator of greats like BB King, Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Sippie Wallace, Joni Mitchell and Taj Mahal to bring American roots music to a wider audience.

Harwood also is president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, an internationally prestigious, high-tech lighting and multimedia design firm in Farmington Hills that has won at least 80 national and international design awards. Among his projects in Detroit are The Fox Theater, Comerica Park, Campus Martius, Compuware, and most of the relighting projects underway in the City of Detroit and the waterfront. Nationally and internationally, Illuminating Concepts boasts projects from the Chinese Museum of Film in Beijing to Universal Theme Park and Disney World.

Besides building ties with Detroit's Redford Theatre and Blight Busters, Harwood also is negotiating with Henry Ford Greenfield Village museum officials to help preserve the musical heritage that encompasses boogie piano to jazz and blues. Harwood says the industrial strength music is tied directly to Detroit's automotive culture and has evolved to influence rock, rhythm and blues and other popular musical forms.

Festival promoters are linking with Motor City Blight Busters, a non-profit community-based housing development group whose mission is to revitalize the neighborhoods of northwest Detroit.

Motor City Boogie-Blues Festival organizers formed the partnership this year, after festival promoters decided to hold the event for the third year at the historic Redford Theatre located in the heart of the Blight Buster's turf. The alliance with the Redford Theatre and Blight Busters assures that festival-goers will enjoy safe, clean, well-lighted parking and a memorable musical experience.

Motor City Blight Busters began in 1988 and has a core group of 10,000 volunteers. The group plans to build a business complex that includes a furniture store, cyber caf» and art gallery adjacent to the theatre. "Blight Busters has accomplished hundreds of neighborhood stabilization projects, including building more than 200 new houses and renovating more than 150 houses with thousands of volunteers," says John George, president of MCBB
Harwood says the AMRF continues to build its sponsorship base. Last year, Daimler Chrysler signed on as a major concert sponsor, another "first."
"Boogie woogie is considered America's industrial-strength music. Over the years, it has inspired many struggles for freedom and self-expression through its music. Boogie is the root for much of America's blues, rock and jazz today," says Harwood of the festival, which has expanded its lineup to include blues and jazz.

AMRF organizers are seeking corporate sponsors to help underwrite expenses. For more information on the concert and AMRF, please visit the AMRF web site at
Concert proceeds will benefit AMRF, a Farmington Hills-based non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and preserving boogie woogie and American roots music in its purest forms. AMRF also provides assistance to deserving artists of various musical genre, including boogie woogie, blues, ragtime, swing, jazz and rhythm and blues.

Festival tickets are available in advance online at, all Meijer's locations or by calling 800-585-3737. Tickets also will be at the Redford Theatre (313-537-2560), 17360 Lasher Rd. (north of Grand River), Detroit. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; showtime at 7:30 p.m. Lighted, security-protected parking is free. Valet parking also is available.

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