Produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events | Programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago
Grant support to the Jazz Institute of Chicago provided by The Chicago Community Trust and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
This year marks the Centennial of the Great Migration, the mass movement of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the urban Midwest, Northeast and West beginning in 1916. Chicago was a key destination for that transformative relocation, with a momentous impact on the development of jazz as a vernacular music from New Orleans into an industry in Chicago.
That history will be marked in several ways throughout this year’s festival, most notably in the premiere performance of a newly-commissioned piece entitled Soul Migration by Chicago trumpeter, composer and bandleader Orbert Davis that will headline opening night on Thursday, September 1. Commissioned by the Chicago Jazz Festival, Davis’ piece will trace the route of the people who made the trek northward with a suite that takes listeners on a moving journey of their own.
On Friday, September 2nd, the evening will culminate with late bass legend Charlie Haden’s politically-charged Liberation Music Orchestra, now led by Haden’s longtime collaborator and arranger Carla Bley and featuring electric bass great Scott Colley. The stellar band upholds the revolutionary legacy of Haden, who tragically passed away in 2014 after a long illness, for a performance entitled, Celebrating Charlie.
The evening will also feature a performance by influential composer, arranger and saxophonist Benny Golson. The Philadelphia-born hard bop pioneer is responsible for several of the most-played standards in jazz, including “I Remember Clifford,” “Killer Joe,” “Stablemates,” and “Along Came Betty.” He also helped pave the way for jazz composers in the world of film and television, spending years writing for shows like M*A*S*H and Mission: Impossible.
Saturday, September 3 headliners include Israeli-born saxophonist and clarinetist Anat Cohen and her quartet, one of the most exciting bands in modern jazz. The classically-trained Cohen melds influences from her native Israel with electrifying jazz, Brazilian choro, and Afro-Cuban rhythms, all expressed with an engaging, joyous presence that compels audiences to dance.
She’ll be followed by The Bad Plus with special guests, alto saxophonist Tim Berne, cornetist Ron Miles and soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome playing the music of recently departed jazz iconoclast, Ornette Coleman from his groundbreaking 1972 album, Science Fiction.
The final night will feature two can’t-miss concerts. The first will be the quartet co-led by guitarist John Scofield and saxophonist Joe Lovano, two of the most revered and influential artists of the last 40 years. Scofield’s acclaimed new album, Past Present (Impulse!) reunites his much-heralded band from the early 1980s that helped launch Lovano’s career.
The festival will conclude with what is sure to be an explosively festive set celebrating the milestone 95th birthday of legendary Cuban percussionist Candido Camero – better known as just Candido. The all-star celebration will feature a host of special guests including trombonist Steve Turre, flautist Nestor Torres, pianist Elio Villafranca, singer Frankie Figueroa, bassist Yunior Terry and percussionist Sammy Figueroa.