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Mark your calendars for the 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

6/7/2017, 12:29 p.m. | Updated on 6/7/2017, 12:29 p.m.
The festival will be hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and is set to ...
The 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will headline some of the top performers in the jazz world starting on Labor Day weekend, which is August 31 through Sept. 3, 2017 in Millennium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 78 E. Washington St. On Saturday, Sept 2., there will be a grand performance in honor of the one and only Ella Fitzgerald (pictured), who performed at the festival in 1981. This particular showcase will feature the likes of Brad Williams Trio, Sheila Jordan, Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, Spider SaloŠ and Paul Mariano, according to the city of Chicago. Photo by William P. Gottlieb

Mark your calendars for the 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

August might be some time away, but jazz lovers can start planning now for the 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival which will headline some of the top performers in the jazz world starting on Labor Day weekend, August 31 through Sept. 3, 2017 in Millennium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center,

located at 78 E. Washington St.

The festival will be hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural

Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and is set to display four stages of live

performances by Chicago’s vast jazz talent.

Chicago-born guitarist George Freeman will kick-o£ the festival as he

celebrates his 90th birthday. Freeman has been performing at the Chicago

Jazz Festival “since 1978, and has played with Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Lester Young, Johnny Griffin, Richard Holmes Shirley Scott and his brother Von Freeman,” according to a city of Chicago press release. In addition, there will be more celebrations and festival highlights of three key jazz legends including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald.

Dr. Lonnie Smith, who is an expert of the Hammond B-3 organ, will

make his fourth appearance at the festival on Sept. 1. Smith’s band will include saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin, keyboardist Jason Lindner, drummer Mark Guiliana and bassist Tim Lefebvre. Each band member is a collaborator, “on David Bowie’s Grammy® Award-winning album Blackstar and has been touring the world in support of McCaslin’s latest album Beyond Now.

On Saturday, Sept 2., there will be a grand performance in honor of

the one and only Ella Fitzgerald, who performed at the festival in 1981. This

particular showcase will feature the likes of Brad Williams Trio, Sheila Jordan,

Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, Spider Salo£ and Paul Mariano. However, Dr.

Michael White Quartet will perform ahead of the Ella Fitzgerald Tribute.

Quartet is “widely considered as one of the leading authorities and culture

bearers of traditional New Orleans jazz music. He is also, a multi-talented

musician that has the ability to perform as a clarinetist, bandleader, composer, musicologist and educator BassDrumBone,” according to a city of Chicago press release. Chicago native and Trombonist Ray Anderson will follow next in line and drummer and composer Allison Miller will help end the night, with his band called Boom Tic Boom, who are also often known for their sharp precision.

On the last day, Roscoe Mitchell, who is “one of the figures of avant-garde jazz, will celebrate 50 years of Nessa Records,” according to the city of Chicago.

“Mitchell will be joined by the first quartet of his career with Alvin Fielder

on drums, Fred Berry on trumpet and Junius Paul on bass, along with cellist

Tomeka Reid and drummer Vincent Davis.”

The Jazz Festival has been on display since 1979 and the not-for-profit

Jazz Institute of Chicago said the organization would like to keep providing,

“jazz education for youth and adults, supporting the creation of new work by

Chicago jazz musicians and fostering a thriving jazz community,” according to a city of Chicago news release.

For more information on the Jazz Festival and other Chicago cultural

events, visit cityofchicago.org.