Your comprehensive guide to the 37th annual Chicago Jazz Festival | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

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Your comprehensive guide to the 37th annual Chicago Jazz Festival

Previews of every act in Millennium Park and beyond, including Fred Hersch in his overdue festival debut and AACM cofounder Muhal Richard Abrams leading a historic reunion of the Experimental Band

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The jazz doesn't end with the festival

Bobby Broom appears with his trio Thursday through Saturday at the California Clipper. - JOHN BROUGHTON
  • John Broughton
  • Bobby Broom appears with his trio Thursday through Saturday at the California Clipper.

One of the most exciting parts of the Chicago Jazz Festival is the looser, more spontaneous shows that happen around town each night (and sometimes in the mornings too). Trumpeter and reedist Ira Sullivan returns from Florida to host the traditional Jazz Showcase jam sessions, backed by pianists Stu Katz and Ron Perrillo, bassists Larry Gray and Marlene Rosenberg, and drummer Greg Artry; these sets reliably attract high-profile artists in town for the fest, and club manager Wayne Segal says this year's likely guests include Chico Freeman, Makaya McCraven, Fred Hersch, Marquis Hill, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mark Turner, and José James.


The Chicago Jazz Festival

Thu 9/3 12:15-9 PM, Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) and Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph)

Fri 9/4-Sun 9/6 12:30 PM-9:30 PM, Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph)

Millennium Park stages: Pritzker Pavilion, the Von Freeman Pavilion (on the south promenade), the Jazz & Heritage Pavilion (on the north promenade), and the Young Jazz Lions Pavilion (on the roof of the Harris Theater).

All shows are free and open to all ages. More details at chicagojazzfestival.us.

Thursday, September 3

Friday, September 4

Saturday, September 5

Sunday, September 6


The Jazz Showcase jams tend to be pretty mainstream, but those of you looking for something more avant-garde have a few good options too. David Boykin's Hereafter Fest, now in its ninth year, returns to its former home at Heaven Gallery on Friday and Saturday, and at the Hairpin Arts Center on Saturday the AACM and Asian Improv Arts Midwest join forces for a late concert (the Hanah Jon Taylor Artet plays the first set, and the second set features Taylor, Dushun Mosley, Francis Wong, Edward Wilkerson, Kioto Aoki, and guests). Constellation hosts two outward-­bound performances by a quartet that includes New Orleans saxophonist Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Mississippi drummer Alvin Fielder, and formerly Chicagoan guitarist Jeff Parker. Harrison Bankhead will play bass on Friday, and Joshua Abrams will play on Saturday; before each set ends, the group will be joined by local fire-breathers (including drummer Mike Reed, reedist Douglas Ewart, and vibist Jason Adasiewicz) as well as a few out-of-towners.

Southport Records used to host an afterfest show at Katerina's, but that venue has closed—this year the event is at Lange's, where keyboardist Bradley Parker-­Sparrow and singer Joanie Pallatto host a Sunday jam session with drummer Luiz Ewerling and bassist Mitch Straeffer. PianoForte not only hosts concerts on the three days preceding the fest but also presents free morning sets on Saturday and Sunday by Robert Irving III and Ryan Cohan, respectively (both simulcast by WDCB 90.9 FM); Bobby Broom's excellent trio holds court at the California Clipper from Thursday through Saturday. Finally, the Jazz Record Mart's annual Sunday jazz brunch is back in action after a hiatus, with sets from the Ernest Dawkins Quartet and Frank Catalano with Jimmy Chamberlin. Peter Margasak

Wednesday, September 2

Rob Clearfield 5:30 PM, PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan, 312-291-0291, pianofortefoundation.org  free, all ages

Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Club Tour 6 PM till midnight, multiple venues (Andy's, Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, M Lounge, City Life, 50 Yard Line, the Drake Hotel, Norman's Bistro, the Promontory), jazzinchicago.org/jazzfest/jazz-club-tour, $40, $35 in advance ($35 and $30 for members), 21+

Thursday, September 3

Bobby Broom Trio 9:30 PM, California Clipper, 1002 N. California, 773-384-2547, californiaclipper.com, $3, 21+

Afterfest jam sessions hosted by Ira Sullivan 9 PM, Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth, 312-360-0234, jazzshowcase.com, $20, 21+

Friday, September 4

Bobby Broom Trio 10 PM, California Clipper, 1002 N. California, 77-384-2547, californiaclipper.com, $3, 21+

Hereafter Fest: Microcosmic Sound Orchestra, Participatory Music Coalition, DJ Ayana Contreras 10 PM, Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor, 773-342-4597, heavengallery.com, $10 suggested donation, all ages

Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Alvin Fielder, Jeff Parker, and Harrison Bankhead 9:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, constellation-chicago.com, $20, $15 in advance, 18+

Afterfest jam sessions hosted by Ira Sullivan 9 PM, Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth, 312-360-0234, jazzshowcase.com, $20, 21+

Saturday, September 5

Bobby Broom Trio 10 PM, California Clipper, 1002 N. California, 77-384-2547, californiaclipper.com, $3, 21+

Hereafter Fest: David Boykin Expanse, DJ Ayana Contreras 10 PM, Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor, 773-342-4597, heavengallery.com, $10 suggested donation, all ages

Robert Irving III 10 AM, PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan, 312-291-0291, pianofortefoundation.org, free, all ages

Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Alvin Fielder, Jeff Parker, and Joshua Abrams 9:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, constellation-chicago.com, $20, $15 in advance, 18+

Afterfest jam sessions hosted by Ira Sullivan 9 PM, Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth, 312-360-0234, jazzshowcase.com, $20, 21+

Hanah John Taylor, Dushun Mosley, Francis Wong, Edward Wilkerson, Kioto Aoki, and guests; Hanah John Taylor Artet 10 PM, Hairpin Arts Center, 2810 N. Milwaukee, 773-437-6966, hairpinartscenter.org, $15, $10 for students, all ages

Sunday, September 6

Ryan Cohan 10 AM, PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan, 312-291-0291, pianofortefoundation.org, free, all ages

Ernest Dawkins Quartet, Frank Catalano & Jimmy Chamberlin 10:15 AM, Jazz Record Mart, 27 E. Illinois, 312-222-1467, jazzmart.com, free, all ages

Joanie Pallatto, Bradley Parker-Sparrow, Luiz Ewerling, and Mitch Straeffer 9 PM, Lange's, 3500 N. Southport, 773-472-6030, 21+, free

Afterfest jam sessions hosted by Ira Sullivan 9 PM, Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth, 312-360-0234, jazzshowcase.com, $20, 21+  v

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