It’s the end of the summer and our last chance to get out and savor it! Keeping that in mind, the Chicago Jazz Festival is coming to the Loop this weekend to help us celebrate its 35th year and kick off the last weekend of August!

Since 1979, the Chicago Jazz Festival has explored many aspects of jazz, featuring a variety of talents from Chicago, the greater U.S., and overseas. The festival is known for its creativity, and its mission is to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. This year’s fest will run from August 29 to September 1 in Millennium Park and is free to attend.

Presented by the DCASE and programmed in partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the festival has a growing lineup of featured jazz artists.
The first performance held at Millennium Park will be “Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz,” which will kick off on August 29 at 6:30 p.m. The annual series features some of Chicago’s leading jazz performers that experiment with styles from Africa, Latin America and the rhythm and roots intrinsic to the South Side of Chicago.

Other Millenium Park performances will include the Miguel de la Cerna Quartet in partnership with the Hyde Park Jazz Society on August 30 at 4:40 p.m., and Geof Bradfield’s Melba! also featured on August 30, but later that evening at 6:30 p.m.

Additional performances will also be held at the Chicago Cultural Center including What is this thing called “Jazz”? The Ryhthm Method Part II with Paul Wertico, Larry Gray and David Cain on August 31, the Harrison Bankhead Sextet on August 31, and the Hinda Hoffman Trio, also on August 31.

What is this thing called “Jazz”? offers a peripheral view of the intricacies that are involved in jazz performance. Speakers include Grammy award-winning percussionist, Paul Wertico, renowned Bassist, Larry Gray, and multi-instrumentalist, David Cain.

All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. with a short set by young, aspiring musicians from Chicago-area high schools as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Student Ensembles.

The Harrison Bankhead Sextet performs a mix of everything from extraordinary explosions to introspective ethereal sets, with each member taking the stage with their own soloThe group features Ed Wilkerson on reeds and didgeridoo; Mars Williams on reeds, autoharp and wooden flute; James Sanders on violin; Avreeayl Ra on percussion and wooden flute; and Ernie Adams on percussion. The performance starts at 1:45 p.m.

Last but not least for the Chicago Cultural Center performances is the Hinda Hoffman Trio. Scat vocalist Hinda Hoffman is known for her wordless improvisations that aren’t marked by the typical splashy and aggressive qualities known to the genre, rather she is prized for her elegant style. The performance begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Preston Bradley Hall.


The festival starts at noon and ends around 7 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday, performances start at 2:20 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. Saturday the fest runs from 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday performances are from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. See you there!


To find out more about the Chicago Jazz Festival, visit The City of Chicago’s website