Aretha’s Jazz Cafe is more than what meets the eye, which is an entertainment venue, with a full bar and kitchen. Sitting snuggly inside of the Music Hall, many view it as the community’s connection to music and entertainment. There are many reasons for that. Why? Because it’s mainly the name attached to it. . . ARETHA.

The Name Change

Aretha's Jazz Cafe adopted the new name to honor the legacy of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.

Since its inception in 2006, the space inside the Music Hall was simply called “The Cafe.” However, in 2019, after the death of Aretha Franklin, it was designated “Aretha’s Jazz Cafe” to preserve the legacy of Ms. Franklin, “The Queen of Soul.” Life has many changes. My research reveals another alteration will take place with the building that “houses” Aretha’s Jazz Cafe, The Music Hall.

The Music Hall

The Music Hall was built in 1928. Some believed it to be a symbol of Detroit’s soul. Today, with 80-million-dollar tax exempt 501 (c) 3 bonds and commitments reaching 123 million, Detroit residents will see an expansion of the building. Key planned improvements are:

  1. Expanding the building throughout the parking area.
  2. Expanding the capacity of the arena to service 1900 people.
  3. A music exhibition with conference spaces.
  4. Modern music academy with recording studio.
  5. Culinary ventures with rooftop events.

The planned expansion will increase annual visitation to 600,000 people and 650 concerts. The Economic Development Corp is overseeing the project, but the Music Hall has to “foot the bill.” Most believe it is great for Detroit and will encourage new development in the area.

Increase Music Entertainment

With increased space, visitors and concerts, Aretha’s Jazz Cafe will “rise” to meet additional community participation and sponsorships like WJZZ Radio. Residents can envision more concerts with the professionalism and skills of legendary Smooth Jazz Saxophonist Duane Parham. Not only is Aretha’s legendary. . . so is Duane Parham.

A powerhouse of talents, Duane Parham’s genius is not just restricted to music, rather it extends beyond the realm of music to the world of literature as well. The eclectic musician’s autobiography “Can You Hear Me Now” is a riveting novel on the highs and lows of life and the lessons that we garner from them.  It underscores the importance of using values and lessons that lead to positive life direction shared worldwide on EAMTRADIO, an online radio owned by Parham’s 501 c 3 nonprofit, Educational Arts Society.

With a professional career that spans several decades, Saxophonist Duane Parham continues to captivate and inspire audiences locally, nationally and internationally. 

Duane Parham Packs Out

“Duane Parham Packs Out” is a phrase that describes the audience at Aretha’s Jazz Cafe on October 19, 2023. There were no empty seats! In fact, some attendees were turned away at the door. Having visited the last few concerts of Saxophonist Duane Parham, the attendance replicated that night. The “man with the horn” brings them in!

Music lovers look forward to WJZZ to continue sponsoring musicians like Parham and Aretha’s Jazz Cafe to expand Detroit’s rich history, educate future generations, nurture local talent and host a variety of events.

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