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Jazz Fest promises no change in artistic direction, despite director’s departure

(Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press) In the wake of last week’s decision not to renew the contract of Detroit Jazz Festival artistic and executive director Terri Pontremoli, the president of the nonprofit foundation that sponsors and operates the festival said the change does not foreshadow a shift in artistic direction.

Tom Robinson, president of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation board of directors, said the annual Labor Day weekend event would remain a “serious jazz festival” and that Pontremoli’s major initiatives — an annual artist-in-residence, expanded educational programs and community partnerships — all would continue.

Pontremoli’s sudden departure raised concern among the festival’s fan base that the event, which reached a new artistic peak on her watch, might be contemplating a turn to crossover or pop acts.