A History of Jazz


Jazz Festivals - Chicago

Chicago is a jazz city. Jazz themed clubs line the streets, and jazz fans flock to them to hear their favorite live acts. Many of the places are filled with nostalgic jazz posters and memories of the jazz legends that once graced their stages.

To celebrate jazz music of the past and present, the Jazz Institute of Chicago and the Mayor's Office of Special Events joined forces to present a week-long jazz festival in August of 1979. This free festival started as a tribute the all the great Chicago jazz musicians, and marked the beginning of a great tradition that is carried on today.

The Chicago Jazz Festival is regarded as the most prestigious jazz fest in the United States. With local, national, and international performers, the festival attracts an audience from around the globe to the lakefront park for one of the world's largest free outdoor jazz festivals.

When? The Chicago Jazz Festival is held annually on the weekend before Labor Day. Three fun-filled musical days entertain tourists and locals.

Where? Swing, jive, fusion, and bebop beats fill the air in Grant Park.

Who? Performers who appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival included:

  • Franz Jackson
  • Freddy Cole
  • Dave Holland Big Band
  • McCoy Tyner Big Band
  • Elvin Jones Jazz Machine
  • Karrin Allyson
  • Jane Bunnett & the Spirits of Havana
  • Ken Vandermark & the Crisis Ensemble
  • Roscoe Mitchell
  • Chano Dominguez
  • Sheila Jordan & the Bradley Williams Trio

…And many, many more.

Visit Chicago Jazz Festival for the 2004 performance line-up and schedule.