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August 30, 2012 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-08-30

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arts & entertainment

Labor Day
Lowdown A

Suzanne Chessler
Contributing Writer

Photos by An drean Mang lard l

This weekend brings the return of end-of-
summer fun fests to southeast Michigan.

Introducing a festival within a festival.


n its third year in Royal Oak, the ever-
expanding Arts, Beats & Eats festival
this year debuts the Deaf Arts Festival.
Visitors will find the work of visual artists
and listen to musical performers who have
moved beyond personal challenges.
Jake Bass, who learned to play instru-
ments by ear, is the hearing member of a
performing arts trio in which two members
are deaf and draw sounds from sensibilities
outside of hearing.
Bass, playing keyboards and keytar (a
lightweight keyboard worn with a strap
around the neck like a guitar), will be
appearing with rapper Sean Forbes and
guitarist Mark Levin at Arts, Beats & Eats.
They will preview songs from Perfect
Imperfection, a new album that features
music by Bass and lyrics by Forbes.
The three will perform on opening day,
at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, on the Michigan
Lottery Stage; the four-day festival runs

through Labor Day.
"It's a fun, quirky, pop album:' says Bass,
who also is the producer of the threesome.
"Our main goal is to make something that
everybody can enjoy."
Bass, 22, has written more than 50 songs
with Forbes. Their music is accessible to
both hearing and deaf audiences through
visuals to spotlight the lyrics, including sign
language, and Bass says the crowd should
expect some surprises.
The writing team has been working
together since Bass was 15, when Forbes
heard music CDs with the teenager's com-
positions and suggested that the two should
collaborate. Forbes, 30 and a Detroit native,
has some hearing — he senses musical
vibrations —and can read lips.
"The first song we wrote was `I'm Deaf:
Sean's first single says Bass, who composes
at the keyboard, guitar and bass. "The song
is on YouTube with half a million hits."

s in years past, the lazy, hazy days of summer draw to a close
with a fistful of favorite festivals — Arts, Beats & Eats and the
Detroit Jazz Festival, among them — offering many choices in
music, art, novelties and foods. What's more, there are new attractions —
like the Great Lakes State Fair in Novi, which will provide a re-imagination
of a decades-old tradition that offers music and food along with animal pre-
sentations, carnival rides and Michigan-labeled products. Meet a few of the
entertainers and check out a listing of events. 0

Bass grew up in Oak Park and now lives
in Ferndale. He learned about playing
music and producing music projects from
his dad, Jeff Bass (of the Bass Brothers
producing team that was instrumental in
launching the career of Eminem). A drum
set, given at Chanukah when the younger
Bass was 8, helped launch rhythmic tal-
"I graduated from Columbia College in
Chicago last May, when I got my degree
in music composition:' says Bass. The
Berkley High School graduate had his bar
mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El, where he
met girlfriend Danielle Klavons.
Bass works through his dad's businesses
— Jeff Bass Music for the producing and
Web Entertainment for the recording.
"I work with a bunch of other artists
as well and recently got into compos-
ing music for visual media," Bass says. "I
scored the music for a show called Motor
City Rising that was on the Ovation TV
network I'm gaining interest in compos-
ing for TV, film and video:'
Bass met Levin through Forbes.
"I am the tour manager, hype-man and
stage guitarist," says Levin, 27, in an e-mail
interview. He has lived in Hazel Park since
moving from Illinois, and like Bass, he is
"I also work for Sean's nonprofit, D-PAN
(Deaf Professional Arts Network), as the
tour, merchandise and social media man-
ager," says Levin.
"I have been with D-PAN since 2008
and try to stay active in the entertainment
industry by picking up various jobs, such
as backstage supervisor at music festivals."
Levin, who like Forbes, has some hear-

Detroit Jazz Festival

Marking its 33rd year with international headliners.


n the heart of Downtown, this year's
Detroit Jazz Festival includes per-
formers making their debut appear-
ances in the city. They include Chuck
Israels, who has not worked in Detroit but
has worked with many of the musical art-
ists who gained early attention in the city.
When he performs at the Detroit Jazz
Festival, he will be joined by members
of the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra and

two preferred singers: his wife, Margot
Hanson, and his daughter, Jessica Israels.
"I'll be playing with my octet from
Portland, and we're playing music that
I've written and arranged over the last 20
years:' says Israels, 76, in a phone inter-
view from his home.
"I've been working on this repertoire
of music pretty heavily influenced by my
time with the Bill Evans Trio. It will be

either my compositions or my arrange-
ments of other people's music."
The Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra, one
of 100 acts in the Detroit Jazz Festival,
will appear 6:45-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1,
on the JP Morgan Chase Main Stage.
The acts will be divided among five
stages to be set up Aug. 31-Sept.3 over
several city blocks in downtown Detroit
— from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius.

Detroit Jazz Festival on page 62

ing, asked for guitar lessons when he was
12. Jamming with family and friends, he
moved on to study drums and bass.
"When listening to music, I have a hard
time differentiating between keyboards
and guitars sometimes," says the single
Levin, who also graduated from Columbia
but specialized in arts, entertainment
and media management. "I took piano/
keyboard lessons to help me process and
understand the sounds better."
Levin, who had his bar mitzvah in
Illinois and sometimes attends Temple
Emanu-El with Bass, considers himself a
very visual person and has watched other
musicians as part of his learning process.
"I have been working on writing some
solo material:' he says. "I left a band
behind when I moved from Chicago, and
I'm looking to put together another in
Michigan." ❑

Mark Levin, with Sean Forbes in

Jake Bass, Sean Forbes and Mark
Levin perform at Arts, Beats & Eats
at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, on the
Michigan Lottery Stage. The festival
is $3 before 5 p.m. (free on Friday)
and $5 after 5 p.m.

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