Windsor musician to headline ‘United’ series featuring Detroit jazz greats

After two long years of very few gigs, a Windsor, Ont. The jazz musician takes some of his friends from Detroit across the river for a series of live performances.

Russ Macklem came to Windsor in 2019 after earning a doctorate in music from the University of Miami. He immediately immersed himself in the local music scene, making connections and playing venues with big names in music in Detroit.

The opportunity gave him the idea to launch a series of shows called “United”.

“Why not have a series here in Windsor that features Detroit musicians playing with Windsor musicians,” Macklem says.

After a successful show, the pandemic hit, the border closed, and his viewing was abruptly cut short.

“All of a sudden, things sort of disappeared overnight. Things that I basically worked for all my life,” he recalls.

With restrictions now all but lifted, Macklem is bringing United back through a series of jazz shows featuring other world-class artists, like Dwight Adams, who has played trumpet for Stevie Wonder for the past 20 years.

Also featured are Detroit drummer Louis Jones III, Ohio tenor saxophonist Chris Thompson-Taylor, Windsor pianist Kevin Grenier and local bassist Michael Palazzolo.

“If I can help bring our two communities together and also strengthen our music community here in Windsor,” says Macklem.

The first show is Wednesday, April 27 at 8 p.m. at the Meteor Lounge in downtown Windsor.

Macklem says students of the genre who attend can be asked to play with the musicians during one of the sets.

Macklem also hopes for more future dates for these jazz greats.

“I want to send a message to musicians in Detroit, don’t be afraid to come here. Let’s create this community that we have had throughout our existence and which, for the first time, has been separated. Let’s recreate that.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 or for $25 at the door.