The Chicago Jazz Festival returns for its 34th year Labor Day weekend. Guests will enjoy four full days of local and national acts, including headliners like Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves and Ken Vandermark. While this event--which takes place in Millennium Park--will be the summer's premiere jazz concert in Chicago, it's not hard to find top notch talent year round in the city. It's a genre that enjoys a rich Chicago history that has carried on to the present. If your heart beats for jazz rhythms and jams you won't want to miss...
Though it has changed locations several times--currently tucked away in South Loop's Dearborn Station (806 S. Plymouth Ct.)--the Jazz Showcase has been a nationally recognized destination for more than six decades. With a fairly modest interior, the focus is always on the music. The first thing you'll likely hear from anyone that's seen a show here in the past is that the acoustics are spot on and the list of past performers is even more impressive. It's a legacy that includes Lester Young, Thelonius Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. Open seven days a week with two shows a day, you won't have to work hard to catch some great tunes here.
It was a known hangout for Al Capone in his day and things haven't changed much since. From the candlelit, white-tableclothed tables to the ornate wooden interior, class is the name of this club's game. It's Uptown location (4802 N. Broadway St.) lends a diverse crowd of folks that have been coming here for more than twenty years and younger patrons that have barely spent two decades on this Earth. The music is superb and the jams go late into the night.
Prime real estate in the downtown area (11 E. Hubbard St.) makes this club and restaurant an easy choice for jazz fans. The music starts at 5 p.m. seven nights a week. Stop by for the "Jazz Jam" on Sundays - you never know what local stars will take to the stage.
Before you get out on the town, you might want to beef up your record collection. The Jazz Record Mart (27 E. Illinois St.) is the place to do so. Sure, the Internet has made all scopes of music much more accessible, but you never know what rare gems you'll find on these shelves.