2024 JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR (SOLO) | Russ Macklem | | The JUNO Awards

The South Detroit Connection is the debut recording by trumpeter Russ Macklem. Recorded live on at Phog Lounge in Windsor, Ontario, the album exudes all the intimate energy of classic recordings from Birdland and the Village Vanguard, but with a modern flair expressed through Macklem’s horn, accompanied by saxophonist Kasan Belgrave (son of legendary Detroit musician, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave), Sam Dickinson on acoustic and electric guitars, and the rhythm section comprised of Jonathan Muir-Cotton on bass and Adam Arruda on drums.

Originally from Kelowna B.C., Russ Macklem lived and performed in many major North American cities before making his current home base in the Detroit/Windsor area, where he is a seasonal lecturer at the University of Windsor. He has performed with a wide range of artists, from Cecil McBee and Dave Holland to the Marley Brothers, Amp Fiddler, De’Sean Jones and Royce da 5’9”, but with The South Detroit Connection, Macklem makes a powerful case to be included among the most exciting new voices on the North American jazz scene.

As jazz has continued to evolve into the 21st century, it could be argued that something it lacks are the singular personalities that marked its various stages of development. Russ Macklem is the type of musician who could have easily found a place playing rock and roll or R&B, but he plays jazz as if his life depends on it. As it should be.