In a city known for many musical genres, jazz looms large in the cultural landscape of Chicago. In the 1920s, musicians like Louis Armstrong and Earl "Fatha" Hines came to Bronzeville to ply their trade in the packed nightclubs up and down South State Street. Since that time, hundreds of musicians have come to test their mettle with fellow performers at dozens of different venues, including the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase, and the late, great Velvet Lounge.
Since 1979, there has been one wonderful constant in the word of jazz in Chicago: the annual Chicago Jazz Festival. The venues for the live music include Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. This year, the music will be just as wonderful as ever, and the fun gets started on September 1 and continues all the way to September 4.
This fine caravan of music is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, with programming crafted by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Things get started on September 1 with a series of concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center that includes performance by the Dan Trudel Trio at 12PM, the Eric Schneider/Pat Mallinger Quartet at 1:30PM, and other notables later in the day.
Other highlights of this four day festival include performances in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on September 2 by the legendary Benny Golson Quartet (7:10PM) and Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra immediately following.
You can view the entire Chicago Jazz Festival 2016 program and you'd do well to check out some of the other related programming around this gathering. For example, the PianoForte Sessions take place at 1335 S. Michigan Avenue on August 29 and 30 at 5:30PM. It's easy to imagine how you might get in the mood by coming by to hear the tributes to noted pianist Ann Ward or Thelonious Monk.
Finally, there's the ever-popular Chicago Jazz Festival Club Tour on August 31, sponsored by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. For one price, you get a collectible button that affords you entrance to thirteen different venues that evening. It's a tremendous way to learn about the city's jazz culture. You can learn more about the evening and purchase tickets on the Jazz in Chicago site.
Image credits: Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events