Chicago Jazz Festival 2017 Line Up

Ellabration! 100 Years of Ella Fitzgerald featurin...

Sep 2 | 8:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
So sweet is Ella Fitzgerald's legacy, so joyously swinging her sound, you don't actually need to hear it to think happy thoughts. All you need to do is say her name. But when five stylish singers get together for a centennial celebration of the First Lady of Song, as will happen tonight, well, take care not to strain your smiling muscle.... continue »

Dizzy Gillespie’s Centennial Celebration with Jo...

Aug 31 | 8:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Today, with Dizzy protégé Jon Faddis leading the charge on trumpet, the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band will celebrate the awesome achievement of that historic ensemble, with the help of Dizzy confreres from different periods in his career: drummer Ignacio Berroa and saxophonist Antonio Hart... continue »

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom...

Sep 2 | 7:10 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
There may be no more sheerly enjoyable band in jazz than drummer Allison Miller's spirited all-star ensemble Boom Tic Boom, featuring pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and bassist Todd Coolman. All leaders in their own right, but all devoted to the 3 Musketeer's code of all for one and... continue »

George Freeman 90th Birthday Celebration...

Aug 31 | 6:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
George Freeman may not be venerated to the degree his departed brother, tenor saxophonist Von, was – and is. But neither did the beloved Vonski have people shaking their head in amazement the way they frequently do over George's ability to coax utterly unique sounds from his electric guitar. At 90, more than a half-century removed from performanc... continue »


Sep 2 | 6:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
In terms of momentousness, the 40th anniversary of this unique three-man collective may not rank up there with the centennial celebrations of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. But with an acclaimed recent album, The Long Road, and major performances like tonight's, trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Gerry H... continue »

Dr. Michael White Quartet...

Sep 2 | 5:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
There is no more stalwart champion of traditional New Orleans jazz than clarinetist Dr. Michael White. Over three decades as an educator, curator, historian, international emissary and producer as well as musician, he has devotedly carried forward the music of the Crescent City – with a special interest in shedding light on his legendary role mod... continue »

Chicago Jazz Composers Collective...

Aug 31 | 3:30 pm
Preston Bradley Hall
For jazz composers, the opportunity to hear their works performed by like-minded players, before a receptive audience, is enormously beneficial – as it is for devoted listeners. For more than 15 years, the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective has made that happen with its monthly appearances at the historic Green Mill Jazz Club under the direction o... continue »

Mary Halvorson Octet...

Sep 2 | 3:30 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Mary Halvorson is leading a charmed double life. One of the most strikingly original jazz guitarists in years, she regularly gets to perform in small settings that highlight her game-changing skills. And as an increasingly impressive composer and arranger, she gets to showcase that side of her talent in larger groups – including the septet resp... continue »

Lowdown Brass Band...

Sep 2 | 3:30 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
Not your typical brass ensemble (is there such a thing at this late date?), Chicago's Lowdown Brass Band may be the only such unit to feature an MC, South Sider Anthony "Billa Camp" Evora, AND cover Ozzie Osbourne ("Death Blow," anyone?). Evora brings a tough Chi Town sensibility to the hip-hop, rock and skate culture influences of his native New... continue »

Dave Rempis Quintet Performing Jackie McLean's Act...

Aug 31 | 3:15 pm
Claudia Cassidy
One of the pivotal efforts in the bop generation's incorporation of free jazz, Action doesn't have the reputation of McLean classics such as Let Freedom Ring and One Step Beyond, partly because it was out of print for so long. Count on basking in its glories after you hear it filtered through Rempis' take-no-prisoners sensibility.... continue »

Southport Records Celebrates 40 Years of Sparrow...

Aug 31 | 3:00 pm
Randolph Square
Through it all, Sparrow has partnered with his wife, singer Joanie Pallatto, his invaluable right hand woman in the studio. For more than a dozen years, they presided over the "Southport Records Presents" series at Katerina's. Last year, Sparrow and Pallatto were named Chicago Jazz Heroes by the Jazz Journalists Association.... continue »

Hearts & Minds...

Sep 2 | 2:20 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
But even as they draw from the jazz and pop past, Stein and company, including protean drummer Chad Taylor, are anchored in the present, leaving their mark with solos that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and spacey textures you may want to bring with you to your next massage. As promised, this is a band for both hearts and minds.... continue »

Young Chicago Authors : Word On Jazz...

Aug 31 | 2:00 pm
Preston Bradley Hall
Young Chicago Authors in partnership with the Chicago Jazz Festival present a dialog between jazz and hip hop with poets Patricia Frazier, Kennet Munoz and Vicki Peraluta; lyricists Freejay, Essie Linzy and Lyrik/Elgin and musicians Tony Milano (keyboard), Timmy Voltchek (bass), and Justin Boyd drums.... continue »

Shawn Maxwells' New Tomorrow...

Sep 2 | 2:00 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
With his new quintet, New Tomorrow, named after his strong 2016 album, veteran reed player and flutist Shawn Maxwell downscales from his Alliance tentet to cutting effect. The music, all of it composed by the Joliet native, ranges from soul-jazz to "the sound of sheer anarchy," as New City reviewer Robert Rodi put it.... continue »

Tim Stine Trio (curated by Elastic Arts)...

Aug 31 | 1:45 pm
Claudia Cassidy
In his longstanding trio, Stine combines bracing textures and spare, open melodies (you can hear a subtle debt to the great Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto). He thrives on the wide pockets of space and deep sense of reserve of bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Adam Vida... continue »

West End Jazz Band (curated by the Illiana Club of...

Aug 31 | 1:30 pm
Randolph Square
No mere throwbacks to the jazz of the '20s and '30s, the West End Jazz Band has fully absorbed the dance-driven styles of the period during its three-plus decades together, using original arrangements and instrumentation whenever possible.... continue »

Gustavo Cortiñas Snapshot...

Sep 2 | 1:10 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Drummer and composer Gustavo Cortiñas has had the great good fortune to be exposed to three extraordinary music cultures. He was born and raised in Mexico City, attended college in New Orleans and moved to Chicago to acquire his Master's in jazz studies at Northwestern University. Blending the styles and traditions of those three scenes, Cortiñas... continue »

"What Is This Thing Called Jazz?" with Willie Pick...

Aug 31 | 12:30 pm
Preston Bradley Hall
In this year's installment of a popular festival feature, 86-year-old pianist Willie Pickens, a Chicago treasure, shares the wisdom he has attained over his long and distinguished career in words and music.... continue »

Typhanie Monique...

Sep 2 | 12:30 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
From the very opening tune of her striking debut album, Call it Magic, Chicagoan Typhanie Monique lets you know she's not another run-of-the-mill jazz vocalist. With moody strings rising and falling behind her and pianist Ben Lewis providing a beating pulse, she remakes Coldplay's "Magic" into a stunning meditation on love and loss.... continue »

Thaddeus Tukes Group (curated by the Hyde Park Jaz...

Aug 31 | 12:15 pm
Claudia Cassidy
But for all his stylistic departures, Tukes reserves his deepest commitment to jazz standards. "It's great to get involved in modern harmonies and meters and so on, but there's so much you can learn from the classics," he said. "I try and connect not only with the solos on those recordings, but also the words of the songs."... continue »

Curtis Prince Band with Ari Brown (curated by the...

Aug 31 | 12:00 pm
Randolph Square
Veteran drummer Curtis Prince, while making a stellar contribution as an educator in Chicago's public school system, long has distinguished himself as a sideman... continue »

Charles Heath Quartet (curated by the Hyde Park Ja...

Sep 2 | 12:00 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Drummer Charles Heath has left his imprint on the Chicago jazz scene in multiple ways. He has led his own bands and accompanied such local lights as Von Freeman, Ken Chaney and Malachi Thompson. He has presented shows in a wide variety of city neighborhoods. And as a teacher,he has contributed to the cause of music education, in local schools and a... continue »

The Evolution of Afro-Cuban Jazz: A Talk with Ign...

Aug 31 | 11:00 am
Claudia Cassidy
A star musician in Cuba during the '70s, he emigrated to New York in 1980 and joined Gillespie's quartet a year later. He continued performing with the larger-than-life trumpeter until Dizzy's passing in 1993 and has also played with such luminaries as McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry and Jackie McLean. The in... continue »

Rebirth Brass Band...

Sep 3 | 8:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Formed as a street band in 1983 by the brothers Frazier, bass drummer Keith and tuba player Phil, along with Kermit Ruffins (who left RBB in 1994), this octet takes brass band tradition by the horns and shakes it to high-stepping effect with reggae, rap and James Brown-inspired funk.... continue »

Matt Wilson's Honey and Salt...

Sep 3 | 7:10 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
On his beautiful new album, Honey and Salt, Wilson celebrates his Illinois roots by paying timely tribute to one of our cultural icons, poet Carl Sandburg, who died 50 years ago this past July. “I feel sometimes that of all the celebrated American poets, he doesn't really get his due," said Wilson, whose approach to music has been inspired from t... continue »

Sheila Jordan featuring the Steve Kuhn Trio...

Sep 3 | 6:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Plenty of female singers have left their mark on jazz – for years, it was pretty much their only avenue into the music – but there is only one Sheila Jordan. At 88, she remains the die-hardiest champion of bebop on the planet – an artist who in carrying forth the spirit of her hero Charlie Parker radiates a winning combination of hipness and... continue »

Roscoe Mitchell’s Quartets Celebrating 50 years...

Sep 3 | 5:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Fifty years is a mighty long time for an individual to be putting out records, but Chuck Nessa has more than his prized label's longevity to celebrate. The onetime Jazz Record Mart employee has released some of Chicago's most significant recordings, including history-making classics by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and its individual members, Air, Le... continue »

Louis Moholo-Moholo's 5 Blokes...

Sep 3 | 3:30 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Reviewing a 2015 album by the great South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo's group 4 Blokes, Guardian critic John Fordham praised its "astonishing intensity." We can only imagine how intense today's set will get with a fifth Bloke on board. Not that Moholo-Moholo, at 77 the last surviving member of South Africa's legendary Blue Notes, requires m... continue »

Johnny Blas Afro Libre Orquesta...

Sep 3 | 3:30 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
Timbales man Johnny Blas' music is rooted in the Latin sounds that came out of his native New York in the '70s and early '80s, when such heroes of his as Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto and Willie Colon created the sound associated with the Fania label. A bandleader since 1992, Blas is known for his killer trombone sections, but today will offer a mor... continue »

Josh Berman Quartet...

Sep 3 | 2:20 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Today, Berman will write another intriguing chapter in his late-breaking career by essentially merging three very different jazz scenes. His quartet will include the thrilling New York alto saxophonist Darius Jones, in whose Chicago Edition Berman played last year; quick-witted American-born, Amsterdam-based drummer Michael Vatcher, celebrated for... continue »

Jo Ann Daugherty...

Sep 3 | 2:00 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
With her third and best release as a leader, Bring Joy, released late last year, pianist Jo Ann Daugherty added to her growing reputation as a mainstream artist who stands apart from the pack. As reflected in her deep-in-the-keys rendition of South African legend Abdullah Ibrahim's infrequently covered spiritual, "Water from an Ancient Well," she's... continue »

The Johnathan Doyle Swingtet...

Sep 3 | 1:10 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
An unrepentant traveler who moves between Chicago, Austin, New Orleans and the Pacific Northwest, reed player Jonathan Doyle shifts just as restlessly between improvised jazz, Western swing and rockabilly (hear him on albums by Wayne "The Train" Hancock and JD McPherson). Formed in Texas, the Swingtet grew out of such bands as Chicago neo-swingers... continue »

Michele Thomas...

Sep 3 | 12:30 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
The daughter of a preacher, Chicago singer Michele Thomas brings an irresistible gospel-soul warmth to jazz. And, as she demonstrates with her Stevie Wonder covers Messenger, her 2012 album, she applies a sophisticated jazz sensibility to gospel and soul. Messenger was so-named in recognition of her subject's outspoken message songs, including "Hig... continue »

Rooms Trio...

Sep 3 | 12:00 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
"A significant new force" on Chicago's improvised-music scene, per the Reader's Peter Margasak, the Rooms Trio is one of those uncommon groups that is able to draw on mainstream jazz and an edgy experimentalism without selling either short.... continue »

Jason Moran Presents "In My Mind: Monk at Town Hal...

Sep 1 | 8:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
As it has demonstrated with such presentations as Big Band Monk, its memorable 1986 reunion of musicians from Thelonious Monk's rare big band concerts at Town Hall and Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Jazz Festival has been devoted to keeping the memory of the genius pianist-composer alive. And no contemporary artist is more committed to Monk's legacy th... continue »

Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio...

Sep 1 | 7:10 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Time was, the jazz landscape was populated by a wide assortment of Hammond organists, among them Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, Larry Young and John Patton. All of them are gone now, which makes appearances by one of their peers, Dr. Lonnie Smith, all the more treasurable. Named a 2017 NEA Jazz Master, the 75-year-old organ... continue »

Donny McCaslin Group...

Sep 1 | 6:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Plugged into a fiery post-Coltrane sound or pushing the envelope of jazz-rock fusion, McCaslin has knocked out fans and fellow musicians alike. "Donny is an amazing saxophone player – scary at times," raved fellow tenorist Jimmy Greene, responding to a track from McCaslin's 2015 album, Fast Future, in a recent DownBeat Blindfold Test.... continue »

Dana Hall's Spring...

Sep 1 | 5:00 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
In 1965, on a break from the Miles Davis Quintet, drummer Tony Williams recorded Spring, his second album under his own name. Featuring the remarkable saxophone pairing of Wayne Shorter and Sam Rivers, this collection of original compositions was one of the most forward-looking recordings from that period. Inspired by it, Dana Hall, one of today's... continue »

Slavic Soul Party!...

Sep 1 | 3:30 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
A crowd-pleasing band that may well return one year to close out the festival with their high-energy sound, Brooklyn's Slavic Soul Party! brings to the party what it calls "fiery Balkan brass, throbbing funk grooves, Gypsy accordion wizardry and virtuoso jazz chops."... continue »

Stu Katz : Shearing Redux...

Sep 1 | 3:30 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
Accompanied by the brilliant guitarist Bobby Broom, keyboardist Dan Trudell, bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer George Fludas, Katz will make a strong case for Shearing's importance. The band, featuring Katz on vibes, will bask in Shearing's harmonic sophistication and innovative "full block" approach, which has the guitarist and vibraphonist doub... continue »

Rob Denty / Tim Mulvenna Duo Plus...

Sep 1 | 2:20 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
A Georgia native who has called Chicago home since 1995 and whose credits include a stint with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Rob Denty is not your typical improviser. His doubling on saxophones and synthesizer recalls the dual approach of the Chicago Underground Duo's Rob Mazurek, only his duo with Tim Mulvenna (a wide-ranging improviser heard with hi... continue »

Reggie Thomas Quintet...

Sep 1 | 2:00 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
Pianist and organist Reggie Thomas will team up this afternoon, as he frequently does, with his wife, sultry singer Mardra Thomas. Their four fine albums together include Matters of the Heart, the title of which tells you where they're coming from as artists.... continue »

Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project...

Sep 1 | 1:10 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Violinist Steve Gibons takes a fresh approach to traditional Romanian and Bulgarian music with his Gypsy Rhythm Project, thriving on the lilting melodies and rough hewn performance aspects of the Roma genre while taking it for a lively improvisational jazz spin.... continue »

Joe Policastro Trio...

Sep 1 | 12:30 pm
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion
A native of Cincinnati, he will join with guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery to play tunes off his 2016 album, Pops. Named after Pops for Champagne, the club where they got their start, the trio specializes in covers of pop artists such as Prince, Stevie Wonder, the Pixies and Tom Waits.... continue »

Tim Fitzgerald's Full House...

Sep 1 | 12:00 pm
Von Freeman Pavilion
Leading a septet instead of one of his usual small groups, guitarist Tim Fitzgerald will get a chance to retool his standards and originals in fresh settings. As indicated by his band's name, taken from a classic Wes Montgomery album, Fitzgerald is a dedicated Wes man.... continue »

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