Chicago Gets Jazzy This September
Chicago may be known for raucous rock festival like Lollapalooza and Riot Fest, but the city also is home to a number of more laid-back jazz festivals that are lining up latent this September. So if you’re looking to kick back in style this fall with some cool tunes and crisp autumn breezes, look no further than the city’s September jazz festival triumvirate that is the Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and Englewood Jazz Festival.
The granddaddy of them all, the Chicago Jazz Festival has been promoting all forms of jazz through free live musical events since 1979 to showcase Chicago’s vast supply of jazz talent alongside national and international artists. The festival is an annual Labor Day weekend tradition, taking place this year from August 31-September 3, 2017. Rebirth Brass Band, Dee Alexander, Shelia Jordan, Bradley William Trio, Low Down Brass Band, Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt, the Dave Rempis Quintet, and Jason Moran are a few of the headlining acts that will be performing this year.
The festival takes place with daytime performances at three locations within the Chicago Cultural Center, with a “jazz village” in the rotunda and evening performances taking place in Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It also features a jazz composers collective, young Chicago authors, and a “What Is This Thing Called Jazz” seminar, in addition to high school marching bands performing on the rooftop of the Harris Theater. There will also be a rare appearance by South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo and his London-based combo Five Bloke.
The 18th annual Englewood Jazz Festival, taking place in a neighborhood that has struggled with violence, has come to represent a music festival used as a way to renew a vibrant culture by providing hope and revitalization of the area. It continues in the Hamilton Park Cultural Center Auditorium on September 16, 2017, with performances by Dee Alexander, Ernest Dawkins Jam Session Band, and Young Masters Ensemble, in addition to the presentation of the “Spirit of Jazz” Awards.
September is definitely a month to remember in Chicago, with yet another jazz festival on the calendar. The multi-venue Hyde Park Jazz Festival highlights more of the community’s traditional prowess in the genre. This festival has long been characterized by huge audiences and almost more jazz than can be handled. This year it will take place on 13 stages at multiple indoor and outdoor locations from September 23-24, 2017. The festival will also incorporate music from artists born 100 years ago such as Ella Fitzgerald, but generally the focus this year will be an enthusiastic homage to pianist/bandleader Thelonious Monk.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival venues include two outdoor stages at Midway Plaisance (Woodlawn-Ellis), Smart Museum, Little Black Pearl, Hyde Park Bank, International House, Oriental Institute, DuSable Museum, Hyde Park Union Church, Rockefeller Chapel, and Logan Art Center, with the festival also featuring an outdoor dance floor, food/beverage vendors and picnic areas, artisan vendors, and family friendly programming.
Live streaming opportunities in HD further enhance the delivery of the festival experience, whether it permits the enthusiast’s immersion into the jazz genre, indulges the need for gaming adventure, or tantalizes a foodie’s taste buds. These free festivals auger well for the continued regard that is held for Chicago by the jazz community, so check them out!
PHOTO BY EDWARD STOJAKOVIC/FLICKR