The 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival opened on Aug. 29 and is now in full swing at its new home, at Millennium Park through Sun., Sept. 1, 2013. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced that the music festival will offer more free music than ever before during the four day Labor Day weekend event. Following is a description of the weekend’s highlights from the Chicago Jazz Festival press site.
Headline performers this weekend include NEA Jazz Master drummer Jack DeJohnnette, the legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd, pianist and composer Jason Moran and New Orleans saxophonist Donald Harrison with his Congo Nation Tribe Mardi Gras band.
The two afternoon stages, located on the park’s north and south promenades, will feature music every afternoon. Music begins at noon at the Von Freeman Pavilion and at 12:30 p.m. at the Jazz and Heritage Pavilion. Young Lions of Jazz at Chicago Jazz Festival on Labor Day weekend
The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions, now in its fifth year will be located on the Harris Rooftop on Sat. and Sun. from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. High school and college age jazz bands are featured on the stage.
The Pritzker Stage opens on Sat. at 5 p.m. with a special project honoring the work of drummer Max Roach: The Stafford James String and Percussion Ensemble featuring M’BOOM. Including original personnel from Roach’s M’Boom, the group continues its founder’s purpose of giving voice to the entire family of percussion instruments, and in this case adding the colors and textures of the string family as well.
Gregory Porter, called a “brilliant new voice of jazz” takes the stage next. Chicago native Rudresh Mahanthappa returns to Chicago with his group Gamak. The 2012 DownBeat International Critics Poll Alto Saxophonist of the Year, Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative composers and performers in jazz today, fusing the musical culture of his Indian ancestry and jazz with myriad other influences to create a groundbreaking artistic vision.
Headliner Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party closes the evening with a joyful tribute to a true jazz icon. Moran’s relentless inventiveness is showcased in this project that collages rhythms coming out of Waller’s compositions, 1960s-and-beyond dance music, Motown, house and hip-hop. This night will truly end with a party.
The final evening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion begins at 5 p.m. with the Jimmy Heath Quartet with Jeb Patton. Heath is an NEA Jazz Master who has long been recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist and a magnificent composer and arranger. They are joined by pianist Jeb Patton, a protégé of the late Sir Roland Hanna.
Hamid Drake’s Bindu group presents the final performance of Drake’s residency with Reggaeology. First debuted by the artist and his band in 2010, this project integrates reggae-based pieces with other world-based rhythms. Hip-hop-inspired pianist Robert Glasper and his Trio makes its first appearance at the Chicago Jazz Festival. Glasper experiments with space, rhythm and chord textures, creating a vast array of sound which merges the worlds of jazz and hip-hop, staking out new territory emphasized by his latest release, Black Radio.
For a truly celebratory ending to the 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, saxophonist Donald Harrison brings his Mardi Gras Indian Congo Square Nation band to Chicago. To emphasize his connection to Chicago, Harrison has invited special guest Willie Pickens to perform with them. The New Orleans native grew up in an environment steeped in jazz traditions, and these roots were deepened by his father, a Big Chief in the African-American traditional culture that formed around the annual Mardi Gras celebrations. The group includes Harrison’s quartet plus four members of his Congo Square tribe and Chicago’s own master pianist, Pickens.
For the latest information on the Chicago Jazz Festival including musical lineups, visit Chicago Jazz Festival , like on Facebook at Chicago Jazz Festival or follow on twitter @ChicagoDCASE.
The Chicago Jazz Festival is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Chicago Jazz Partnership, and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Every performance is free at this completely free admission festival in the City of Chicago.
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