Chicago Jazz Festival 2013 Line Up

Dianne Reeves...

Sept, 1 | 8:30 – 9:30 PM

Is Dianne Reeves the last of the great female jazz divas? If you take diva to mean a singer with awesome vocal skills, electrifying presence, remarkable range, and the unfailing ability to lift listeners, the answer may be yes.

Allen Toussaint...

Sept, 2 | 8:30 - 9:30 PM

The New Orleans native Allen Toussaint grew up in a shotgun house learning his piano style at a young age and inspired by some of greats including Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Ray Charles and Huey” Piano” Smith. Leave it to the pianist, to brilliantly re-invent himself, personalize songs such as “West End Blues” and “Dear Old Southland” and garner a Grammy nomination for his efforts.

Roy Haynes - Fountain of Youth...

Aug, 31 | 8:00 – 9:30 PM

At this point in Roy Haynes’ illustrious career, it’s gotten a little boring to recite all the jazz legends with whom he has played drums, live and on record. The amazing list (deep breath) includes Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker. Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Chick Corea…well, you get the idea. The man is a walking repository of modern jazz history.

Jerry Gonzalez Y El Comando De La Clave...

Sept. 1 | 7:10 – 8:10 PM

Most attempts to combine jazz and Latin music result in a stylistic wash: not enough jazz and not enough Latin. Jerry Gonzalez, the Bronx-raised trumpeter and conga player known for his groundbreaking Fort Apache Band, handily avoids that trap with his superb new quartet, El Commando De La Clave.

Jeff Lindberg's Exquisitely for Ella: Tribute to Ella...

Aug. 30 | 6:30 -8:00PM

In honor of what would have been Fitzgerald’s 95th birthday, three of Chicago’s best-loved singers – cabaret queen Spider Saloff, freewheeling jazz singer Dee Alexander and swinging traditionalist Frieda Lee – will join forces with Jeff Lindberg and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and a 17-piece string section in a survey of Ella’s songbook albums.

Special Tribute to Von Freeman...

Aug. 31 | 6:15-6:30 PM

Chico Freeman,  Michael Allemana, Michael Raynor, Ben Paterson, Matt Ferguson

Resonance Ensemble...

Sept. 1 | 6:00 – 6:55 PM

In 2007, Marek Winiarski, who runs the Polish jazz label Not Two, invited Ken Vandermark to Krakow to record a large-scale project. The eternally deadline-pressed Vandermark was offered the irresistible opportunity to spend a full week writing for this hand-picked 11-piece band.

Pierre Dørge and New Jungle Orchestra...

Sept. 2 | 6:00 – 6:55 PM

The personnel of Denmark’s New Jungle Orchestra has changed during its 30-plus years together, and so have its creative outposts. Having traveled to such places as the Middle East and China for inspiration, the NJO recently booked passage on the Trivandrum Express for its latest recording, Sketches of India.

Ken Vandermark and Joe McPhee...

Aug. 31 | 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Imagine idolizing a musician as a teenager and not only getting to play with that musician  years later, but also forging a close association with him. In 1996, Vandermark brought McPhee to the Empty Bottle for his first-ever performance in Chicago. The rest is history.

Sarah Marie Young Quartet...

Sept. 2 | 5:00 – 5:50 PM

Chicagoan Sarah Marie Young is one of those natural talents you know can go in any direction she chooses. If she wants to follow the path of the classic jazz singers, she has the skill and sophistication to do that.

Billy Hart...

Sept. 1 | 5:00 – 5:50 PM

It’s not often that an artist of drummer Billy Hart’s stature – he’s accompanied such greats as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock and Charles Lloyd – achieves an artistic breakthrough in his seventies. But that’s precisely what Hart has done with his 2012 album, All Our Reasons, easily his best recording under his own name.

Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts...

Sept. 2 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Matt Wilson is one of jazz’s great free spirits. During a recent performance at the Green Mill, he abandoned his drum set to play a wood flute from inside the men’s room next to the stage, kicking the door open in time with the music. As funny as the ploy was, it worked in the context of the song.

Marlene Rosenberg Quartet...

Sept. 1 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Long one of Chicago’s go-to bass players with her impeccble time feel and natural, deep- in-the-wood sound, Marlene Rosenberg has accompanied a long list of jazz greats, including Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton and Ed Thigpen.

Ambrose Akinmusire...

Sept. 1 | 3:30 - 4:30 PM

It’s not as though Ambrose Akinmusire has come out of nowhere. The 30-year-old Oakland, Cal., native did win the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. But the swiftness with which this wonderfully understated trumpeter joined jazz’s “A” ranks in the past year was still mighty impressive.

Tito Carrillo...

Sept. 2 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Trumpeter Tito Carrillo has been making his bones, as they say, in a full range of settings, backing everyone from pianist Willie Pickens to saxophonist Paquito d’Rivera and playing in the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. With his strong recent debut album, Opening Statement, he asserts himself as a leader.

Frank D'Rone's 80th Birthday Celebration...

Sept. 1 | 2:20 – 3:20 PM

Would it be okay if we used that old econium, “singer’s singer,” to characterize Frank D’Rone? That’s usually empty praise. But being that’s how Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra have described D’Rone, it couldn’t mean more.

Ken Vandermark's Made to Break Quartet...

Sept. 2 | 2:20 - 3:15 PM

Keeping up with Ken Vandermark’s new bands is a little like keeping up with the Chicago weather: Turn your head and you may miss a new development. The Made for Break Quartet is one of his most far-reaching projects.

Jim Gailloreto's Jazz String Quintet...

Aug. 30 | 2:00-3:00 PM

Employing classical-style strings in an improvisational jazz setting usually works better on paper than in actual performance. Too often, the strings function as additive sweetener rather than integral swinging component. But since 1997, Chicagoan Jim Gailloreto has been perfecting his singular string concept.

Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love...

Sept. 1 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Few contemporary artists are doing as much to advance the art of the saxophone-drum duo as Artist in Residence Ken Vandermark, whose trap set opposites have included British great Paul Lytton, Chicago ace Tim Daisy and Paal Nilssen-Love, a hard-hitting Norwegian with impeccable credentials.

Jeff Newell’s New-Trad Octet...

Sept. 2 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Jeff Newell’s New-Trad Octet was formed in 1994 as a Mardi Gras band, but things “got out of control,” said the leader. We’ll say. While you certainly can feast on the band’s brassy second line sound and a songlist including New Orleans favorites like “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue,” tradition gets subverted at every turn by Newell’s rampant post-modernism.

Yoko Noge's Japanesque with Dee Alexander...

Aug. 30 | 1:45-2:45 PM

Japanesque with special guest Dee Alexander

When singer-pianist Yoko Noge formed her band Jazz Me Blues in the early ’90s, some people looked upon it as a gimmick. A woman from Osaka, Japan singing and playing Chicago blues? She was ahead of her time in her embrace of ethnic crossover, and has proved to be one of the most durable attractions on the local scene.

A Tribute to Jodie Christian- Ken Chaney Quintet...

Aug. 30 | 1:30-2:30 PM

With the death of Jodie Christian early this year, Chicago jazz lost one of its most beloved artists. Though his modesty kept him from attaining the fame he deserved. South Side keyboard veteran Ken Chaney, versatile leader of such popular Windy City bands as the Awakening and the Xperience, knew Christian well.

Jeremy Kahn Sextet...

Sept. 2 | 1:10 – 2:05 PM

At last year’s Chicago Jazz Festival, rain forced the early suspension of Jeremy Kahn’s set, a tribute to the late Pepper Adams. And then the release of  Kahn’s latest album of Adams compositions was delayed. Let’s hope pushing the reset button produces happier results on both fronts.

Jason Stein Quartet...

Sept. 1 | 1:10 – 2:05 PM

Okay, time to take a special jazz festival listener’s poll. Name your favorite bass clarinetist who leads his own band and has a terrific album to show for it. There’s a catch: It can’t be someone who doubles on the instrument. It has to be a full-time bass clarinetist. The top voter-getter (and, OK, the only vote-getter) is Chicago’s own Jason Stein.

Stu Katz and Willie Pickens...

Aug. 30 | 12:30-1:30 PM

Thirty-one years ago, Stu Katz and Willie Pickens teamed up at the Chicago Jazz Festival as a piano duo. Today, they’ll reunite as a duo, but in a different format, with Pickens on piano and Katz on vibes, his second instrument (on which he is featured on A Family Affair, his fine 2011 album with Sullivan).

Edwin Sanchez Project...

Sept. 2 | 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Pianist Edwin Sanchez, a Chicagoan with Puerto Rican roots, grew up in Humboldt Park, where he absorbed a continual stream of Latin, soul and jazz from the radio and the neighborhood.

Caroline Davis Quartet...

Sept. 1 | 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Is Caroline Davis the most interesting young saxophonist in Chicago? If not, she’s off to a good start in making a case for herself. She was born in Singapore to European parents, schooled in Texas, has a PhD in Music Cognition from Northwestern University and has recorded a radical vocal version of Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.”

Damon Short Quintet...

Aug. 30 | 12:15-1:15 PM

Since the release of his 1987 debut album, Penguin Shuffle, Damon Short has been one of the unsung heroes of Chicago jazz as a drummer, composer and bandleader. Short has gone from recording Thelonious Monk tunes early in his career to making highly personal music that reflects the influence of his drumming heroes – including Elvin Jones and AACM great Steve McCall.

Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan...

Sept. 1 | 12:00– 12:55 PM

Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday celebrations have come and gone. But for true Djangoheads like hot-wired guitarist Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan, which headlined the dazzling Django centennial concert in Millennium Park two years ago, every day is a good day to pay tribute to the legendary gypsy guitarist.

Chris Madsen Bix Quartet...

Aug. 30 | 12:00-1:00 PM

More than 100 years after his death at 28, Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke may be a forgotten legend in some parts of the country. What would Bix have sounded like had he lived to embrace ’30s swing styles like Louis Armstrong? Chris Madsen’s distinctive brand of Bixology will provide a few clues.

The Milton Suggs Philosophy...

Sept. 2 | 12:00 – 12:55 PM

Milton Suggs started out as a pianist – no accident considering Chicago piano great Willie Pickens is his godfather. He was, still concentrating on piano as a graduate student at DePaul University when, the story goes, visitor Wynton Marsalis heard him sing and encouraged him to keep at it. Suggs took his advice, and is he ever glad he did.

Ken Vandermark...

Aug 31, Sept 1, Sept 2 |

Saxophonist and composer Ken Vandermark as its Artist in Residence for this year’s festival.  The Chicago Jazz Festival exclusively names Chicago artists for its Artist in Residence program, now in its tenth year, commissioning large-scale compositions and presenting multiple performance opportunities over the course of the four day festival.


Festival Playlist



Like US