The Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz series has ended. Presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the City has announced a new programmatic approach for Millennium Park. You can read more here.
In 2005 Helen Doria, executive director of the newly minted Millennium Park asked the Jazz Institute of Chicago if we would like to program a jazz series at the new downtown park. We agreed of course, and in collaboration with Department of Cultural Affairs Senior Programmer Mike Orlove, created the new series, Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz. Over the course of 11 years, we commissioned 66 large-scale projects, many of which were important milestones in the careers of Chicago’s jazz artists.
It would be hard to imagine a more musically diverse concert series. Latin Jazz projects included Paquito de Rivera conducting the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Paulhino Garica’s celebration of 50 years of Bossa Nova, James Sanders’ Conjunto project with Cerqua de Rivera dancers, Victor Garcia’s Crossing Borders and Frank Rosaly’s ¡Todos de Pie! among others. An international focus included Grazyna Auguscik’s Eastern European flavored Orkestar Universale, African Kora master Toumani Diabate’s Chicago collaboration, Amir El Safar’s Two Rivers and Tatsu Aoki’s Miyumi Project. A genre-embracing curatorial approach resulted in a Blues Summit, a celebration of Chicago‘s Soul legacy with Otis Clay, the post rock band Tortoise, Reginald Robinson’s Ragtime artistry, Dee Alexander’s tribute to James Brown and Jimi Hendrix and too many more to name.
Made in Chicago created opportunities for Chicago musicians to work with iconic jazz artists Nancy Wilson, Ahmad Jamal, Barry Harris, Danilo Perez, Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan, Jon Faddis, Randy Weston, Jack DeJohnette and Muhal Richard Abrams among many others. In some cases the commissioned projects generated Grammy® nominated recordings.
We are grateful that the City of Chicago sustained the series for a just over a decade; leaving a legacy of major opportunities for Chicago artists to create and perform new work, helping to launch and support artists’ careers, forging new collaborations, and introducing thousands of Chicagoans and visitors to the vibrantly diverse art form we call jazz.