The world-renowned Chicago Jazz Festival is a free, four-day extravaganza every Labor Day weekend in Millennium Park. Masterfully curated by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, along with the help of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, this remarkable event brings together international and local jazz musicians to provide an incomparable display of artistry. This festival is a chance to hear soulful performances from some of the genre's most talented artists!
In 1974, a group of people gathered to commemorate the passing of Duke Ellington. This small event quickly became an annual gathering that attracted 30,000 attendees by 1978. That same year saw another festival honoring John Coltrane—the two events merged, and The Chicago Jazz Festival was born. For its inaugural season in 1979, over 125 thousand jazz enthusiasts were entertained by performances from artists such as Von Freeman, Art Hodes, Benny Carter, and McCoy Tyner. Since then, many renowned musicians have graced the stage, including Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and BB King, making it one of America's most famous music festivals today!
An impressive roster of world-renowned musicians, such as Anthony Braxton, Betty Carter, and Lionel Hampton, have graced the stage at Chicago Jazz Festival. Additionally, Chico O'Farrill's big band, Jimmy Dawkins, Johnny Frigo, Slide Hampton, Roy Haynes, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Count Basie, Sun Ra, Stan Getz, Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Burrell, Ornette Coleman, and countless others were able to perform their signature styles for fans here.