It’s hard to estimate the full impact of a certain band director at DuSable High School named Capt’n Walter Dyett. As important as the musical discipline he taught was his guidance of the spirit, especially for young African American students who aspired to become successful as musicians. He taught them first what it took to be successful in life. The Jazz Festival presented a few DuSable reunions of musicians who represented the long lineage Dyett developed–many of whom created what became recognized by the world as “the Chicago Sound”, most notably Von Freeman, Johnny Griffin and John Gilmore. Another Chicago band leader who influenced generations and returned to the festival many times was Sun Ra, most recently in celebration of his 100th birthday in 2014.
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