Chicago Jazz Festival: Neighborhood Nights will put jazz music fans in the mood for the highly anticipated 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, August 29 – September 1, with a variety of events in the weeks leading up to the festival. Highlights include the 7th Annual Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, the beautiful jazz styling of guitarist Henry Johnson and many other performances. The 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival and the 2nd Annual Neighborhood Nights are presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Chicago Jazz Partnership, and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
The Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, presented by BMO Harris Bank in partnership with the Chicago Park District will serve as the opener for the Neighborhood Nights series on Friday, July 19, 7-9 p.m. and on Saturday, July 20, 1-9 p.m. with performances adjacent to or at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (1359 N. Sacramento). The festival will occupy the Humboldt Park Boathouse with the spectacular sounds of Latin jazz, creative mask-making activities, parades, dance and much more for the whole family. On Friday evening, Chicago artists Greg Duncan Latin Ensemble will perform, as well as the Edwin Sanchez Project followed by headliners flutist Jane Bunnett with pianist Hilario Duran and Cuban congero and NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero. On Saturday, evening performances include Son Bayu, Joe Rendon and Friends and Grammy® nominated New York percussionist Bobby Sanabria’s Quarteto ACHE, culminating this two-day celebration of the Latin side of jazz.
The Neighborhood Nights series continues Saturday, July 27 on the back lawn of the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park), 6-8 p.m. with Grammy® nominated guitarist Henry Johnson. Bring a blanket and have a picnic while enjoying Johnson’s hard swinging compositions influenced by jazz hero Wes Montgomery. On a brief break from his tours with Ramsey Lewis and Dee Dee Bridgewater, Johnson’s always a rare treat.
Igniting a musical eruption at The National Pastime Theater at the Preston Bradley Center (941 W. Lawrence Ave.) will be James Sanders & Conjunto, Saturday, August 3, 1-3 p.m. Leader and violinist Sanders and his group will take the stage with a contemporary improvised approach to traditional Latin Jazz.
On August 17, from 1-3 p.m., the Woodson Regional Library (9525 S. Halsted St.) will play host to trumpet Art Hoyle’s Group, featuring a re-creation of the Dexter Gordon/Wardell Gray charts from the recording “The Chase” with Pat Malinger and Eric Schneider on tenor; Bradley Williams on piano; Chuck Webb on bass and Robert Shy on drums.
On August 27, from 6-8 p.m., the Neighborhood Nights series will travel to the Bronzeville neighborhood for a Tribute to Walter Dyett, legendary jazz educator and high school Musical Director at DuSable High School (4934 S. Wabash Ave.). Famous for bringing up jazz giants including Von Freeman, Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, Dorothy Donegan and many others, Cap’t Dyett’s impact on Chicago’s and the international jazz scene was immense. Led by DuSable alum reedist Mwata Bowden and featuring Dyett alumni Edwin Daugherty, T.S Galloway and others, this tribute affirms the important role mentorship plays in the evolution of jazz. The concert is made possible in part by the DuSable High School Alumni Coalition for Action.
Following the Neighborhood Nights series, the PianoForte Sessions will continue downtown on August 26-28. The three-concert series takes place at the Fine Arts Building (410 S. Michigan Ave., Studio 825). Opening on Monday, August 26 is creative improvised music maestro pianist Jim Baker. Hard bop pianist Justin Dillard, whose music is heavily influenced by the musical styling of the late Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, will take the stage Tuesday, August 27. The PianoForte Sessions will conclude with boogie and blues pianist Erwin Helfer, who recently debuted his solo album, Erwin Helfer Way.
The Neighborhood Nights series is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Jazz Partnership, and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The Chicago Jazz Festival is sponsored in part by American Airlines, Aquafina, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-ChicagoLand’s Television, Communications Direct, DownBeat Magazine, E&J Gallo Family Vineyards, LaGrou Distribution System, Pepsi, Stella Artois and WGN-Television.
The 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will begin on Thursday, August 29 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) with performances at Randolph Square, Claudia Cassidy Theater and Preston Bradley Hall; and at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall – and that evening, the festival will feature the final concert of the Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series with Jack DeJohnette: Special Legends Edition Chicago featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, Larry Gray, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill at 6:30pm at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion. On Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 1, the Chicago Jazz festival will fill three full days in Millennium Park with four stages of free music.
For updates on the Neighborhood Nights series and the Chicago Jazz Festival, visit chicagojazzfestival.us, become a fan on the Chicago Jazz Festival Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @ChicagoDCASE.
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Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.