The 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Announces the Complete Lineup Featuring Jason Moran Presents In My Mind: Monk At Town Hall 1959, A Centennial Tribute to Thelonious Monk and More Than 30 Performances by Renowned Chicago Artists

July 12, 2017

The lineup of local national artists includes centennial tributes to Dizzy Gillespie led by Jon Faddis and Ella Fitzgerald, the Donny McCaslin Group, George Freeman’s 90th Birthday Celebration, Matt Wilson's Honey and Salt, Rebirth Brass Band, Willie Pickens, a Celebration of Southport Records, Chicago Jazz Composers Collective, Young Chicago Authors, Thaddeus Tukes Quintet and NextGenJazz Rooftop Stage

August 31-September 3 at Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center


The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the full lineup of performances for the 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, August 31-September 3, in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.). A favorite Labor Day weekend tradition, the festival showcases free live performances by important Chicago artists alongside some of the greatest names from around the world on multiple stages. The FREE-admission Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC). For the complete lineup, visit

Pianist and MacArthur Fellow, Jason Moran will lead a special centennial celebration performance for Thelonius Monk with a presentation of In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall 1959. His tribute to Thelonious Monk is one of three centennial celebrations at the festival in 2017 that were previously announced, including a homage to bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie led by his most famous protégé and Chicago favorite Jon Faddis and a celebration of the singular vocalist Ella Fitzgerald.

Other newly announced performances include a rare appearance by legendary South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo with his London-based combo Five Blokes, featuring rising stars Shabaka Hutchings on saxophone and Alexander Hawkins on piano. The New York City Balkan band Slavic Soul Party! will perform the Duke Ellington classic Far East Suite and the Chicago début of the Mary Halvorson Octet, led by the increasingly influential guitarist who topped four categories in DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Poll.

Previously announced headliners include a Sunday-night finale with The Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans; the celebration of Ella Fitzgerald with Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, Paul Marinaro, Spider Saloff and Sheila Jordan (who will perform her own set with piano icon Steve Kuhn); 90-year-young guitarist George Freeman birthday celebration; the Donny McCaslin Group; Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio; Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom; New Orleans clarinetist Dr. Michael White; and the towering improviser Roscoe Mitchell, marking the 50th anniversary of Nessa Records (a label that documented some of his earliest work). Thursday night’s Dizzy Gillespie Tribute features Jon Faddis leading the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band, with special guests Jimmy Heath (tenor sax), Antonio Hart (alto), Todd Coolman (bass) and Ignacio Berrora. Finally, Sunday brings the world premiere of Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt, based on texts by poet Carl Sandburg.

Resident Chicago musicians who will perform throughout the festival include the Lowdown Brass Band; two drummer-led groups, the Charles Heath Quartet and Gustavo Cortiñas’s Snapshot; Hearts & Minds with bass clarinetist Jason Stein; vocalists Typhanie Monique and Michele Thomas; and two bands honoring great artists of the past: Tim Fitzgerald’s Full House, a seven-piece inspired by the music of Wes Montgomery, and Stu Katz’ Shearing Redux, a re-creation of the classic George Shearing Quintet featuring guitar great Bobby Broom.

Other additions from Chicago’s vast pool of talent are Shawn Maxwell’s New Tomorrow, the Joe Policastro Trio, the Josh Berman Quartet, trad-jazz favorites the Jonathan Doyle Swingtet and Johnny Blas & His Afro Libre Orquesta. The final lineup also includes groups led by pianists JoAnn Daugherty and Reggie Thomas, a project led by saxist Rob Denty and drummer Tim Mulvenna, Rooms Trio and dana hall’s spring, a band inspired by the early work of drumming legend Tony Williams.

The Chicago Jazz Festival will kick off at 11am on Thursday, August 31, at the Chicago Cultural Center with the Jazz Village, featuring Chicago’s jazz community including some of the city’s vibrant record labels, advocacy organizations and live jazz presenters sharing information about the rich diversity of music in the Chicagoland area. Later in the afternoon comes a presentation on Afro Cuban music by percussion great Ignacio Berroa, who joined Dizzy Gillespie’s quartet in 1981, as well as performances led by phenom Thaddeus Tukes Quintet, guitarist Tim Stine and internationally acclaimed Dave Rempis leading a quintet performing the 1964 Blue Note LP Action by alto saxophonist Jackie McLean.

Festival attendees on Thursday, August 31, will also hear music of the ‘20s and ‘30s by the West End Jazz Band as well as the Curtis Prince Band featuring Ari Brown, one of Chicago’s most cherished saxophonists. Also at the Chicago Cultural Center, Southport Records Celebrates 40 Years of Sparrow, honoring pianist Bradley Parker-Sparrow and his venerable Chicago label, whose catalog boasts more than 140 projects in print, including work by Roscoe Mitchell, Willie Pickens, Fred Anderson and Von Freeman.

Before the festival moves to Millennium Park, the legendary octogenarian pianist Willie Pickens will be interviewed by Chicago pianist Miguel de la Cerna in a discussion called “What Is This Thing Called Jazz?” followed by a hip-hop/jazz collaboration with Young Chicago Authors. The Chicago Jazz Composers Collective – celebrating 15 years of monthly performances under the direction of founder and vibraphonist Kathy Kelly at the historic Green Mill nightclub – will debut new works by a sextet of CJCC members comprising trumpeter Jeff Beer, saxophonist Artie Black, guitarist Dave Onderdonk, bassist Dan DeLorenzo, drummer Damon Short, and Kelly herself.

In keeping with the festival’s tradition of nurturing new artists, the Roof Top Jazz: Young Jazz Lions, on Saturday, September 2 at the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace in Millennium Park, will feature select groups from a city-wide jazz band competition that was co-hosted by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Participating schools performing on Saturday include: Kenwood Academy High School Jazz Ensemble; Morgan Park High School Jazz Combo; Whitney Young High School Jazz Combo; Kelly High School Jazz Ensemble; Jones College Prep Jazz Combo and the Roosevelt University Jazz Ensemble, directed by veteran composer/arranger Marshall Vente, playing Coltrane’s A Love Supreme with guest saxophonist Brian Gephart.

On Sunday, September 3, the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace hosts Roof Top Jazz: NextGenJazz, focusing on up-and-coming Chicago musicians alongside notable regional and national touring artists. The lineup for this year includes: Trilogy (Kevin King, Jeremy Warren and Jada Stroud); the Jenna Przbysz Collective; the Infrared Quintet led by flautist Kenthaney Redmond; the Possibilities Trio (Tim Bennett, Dan Stein and Peter Manheim) and Chosen Few, led by saxophonist Isaiah Collier. All the artists are alumni of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links programs.

Admission to the Chicago Jazz Festival is free, and hours for Thursday, August 31, are noon–4:30pm at the Chicago Cultural Center and 6:30pm–9:30pm in Millennium Park. On Friday, September 1, through Sunday, September 3, the festival will be in Millennium Park, 11am–9:30pm.


39the Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Schedule of Performances

-Subject to change-

Thursday, August 31

Chicago Cultural Center, GAR Rotunda

  • 11am-4:30pm - A Jazz Village featuring Chicago’s Jazz Community

Claudia Cassidy Theater

  • 11am-Noon - The Evolution of Afro-Cuban Jazz: A Talk with Ignacio Berroa
  • 12:15-1:15pm - Thaddeus Tukes Quintet
  • 1:45-2:45pm - Tim StineTrio
  • 3:15-4:15pm - Dave Rempis Quintet performing Jackie McLean’s Action

Randolph Square

  • Noon-1pm - Curtis Prince Band featuring Ari Brown
  • 1:30-2:30pm - West End Jazz Band
  • 3-4pm - Southport Records Celebrates 40 Years of Sparrow

Preston Bradley Hall

  • 12:30-1:30pm - “What Is This Thing Called Jazz” with Willie Pickens and Miguel de la Cerna
  • 2-3pm - Young Chicago Authors
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Chicago Jazz Composers Collective

Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 6:30-7:30pm - George Freeman 90th Birthday Celebration
  • 8-9:30pm - Dizzy Gillespie’s Centennial Celebration with Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band


Friday, September 1

Millennium Park

Von Freeman Pavilion (South Promenade)

  • Noon-12:55pm - Tim Fitzgerald’s Full House
  • 1:10-2:05pm - Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm
  • 2.20-3:15pm - Rob Denty / Tim Mulvenna Duo Plus
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Slavic Soul Party!

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (North Promenade)

  • 12:30-1:30pm - Joe Policastro Trio
  • 2-3pm - Reggie Thomas Quintet
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Stu Katz Shearing Redux

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5-5:50pm - Dana Hall’s Spring
  • 6-6:55pm - Donny McCaslin Group
  • 7:10-8:10pm - Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio
  • 8:30-9:30pm - Jason Moran presents In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall 1959


Saturday, September 2

Millennium Park

Roof Top Jazz: Young Jazz Lions (Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace)

  • 11:30am-Noon - Morgan Park High School Jazz Combo
  • 12:15-12:45pm - Jones College Prep Jazz Combo
  • 1-1:30pm - Whitney Young High School Jazz Combo
  • 2-2:40pm - Kelly High School Jazz Ensemble
  • 2:55-3:35pm - Kenwood Academy High School Jazz Ensemble
  • 3:50-4:30pm - Roosevelt University Jazz Ensemble plays A Love Supreme

Von Freeman Pavilion (South Promenade)

  • Noon-12:55pm - Charles Heath Quartet
  • 1:10-2:05pm - Gustavo Cortiñas Snapshot
  • 2:20-3:15pm - Hearts & Minds
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Mary Halvorson Octet

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (North Promenade)

  • 12:30-1:30pm - Typhanie Monique
  • 2-3pm - Shawn Maxwell’s New Tomorrow
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Low Down Brass Band

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5-5:50pm - Dr. Michael White Quartet
  • 6-6:55pm - BassDrumBone
  • 7:10-8:10pm - Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom
  • 8:30-9:30pm - Ellabration! 100 Years of Ella Fitzgerald featuring the Brad William Trio, Sheila Jordan, Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, Spider Saloff and Paul Mariano


Sunday, September 3

Millennium Park

Roof Top Jazz: NextGenJazz (Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace)

  • 11:30am-12:15pm - Jenna Przbysz Collective
  • 12:30-1:15pm - Trilogy (Kevin King, Jeremy Warren, Jada Stroud)
  • 1:30- 2:15pm - Infrared Quintet led by Kenthaney Redmond
  • 2:30-3:15pm - Possibilities Trio (Tim Bennett, Dan Stein, Peter Manheim)
  • 3:30-4:15pm - Chosen Few led by Isaiah Collier

Von Freeman Pavilion (South Promenade)

  • Noon-12:55pm - Rooms Trio
  • 1:10-2:05pm - The Jonathan Doyle Swingtet
  • 2:20-3:15pm - Josh Berman Quartet
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Louis Moholo-Moholo: Five Blokes

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (North Promenade)

  • 12:30-1:30pm - Michele Thomas
  • 2-3pm - JoAnn Daugherty
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Johnny Blas Afro Libre Orquesta

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5-5:50pm - Roscoe Mitchell’s Quartets Celebrating 50 years of Nessa Records
  • 6-6:55pm - Sheila Jordan featuring Steve Kuhn's Trio
  • 7:10-8:10pm - Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt
  • 8:30-9:30pm - Rebirth Brass Band


The Chicago Jazz Festival is sponsored in part by American Airlines, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-ChicagoLand Television, Communications Direct, Downbeat Magazine, Stella Artois, WGN-TV and 90.9FM WDCB.

For the latest information on the Chicago Jazz Festival, visit, like us on Facebook at Chicago Jazz Festival and follow us on Twitter (@ChicagoDCASE, @ChiJazzFest, #ChicagoJazzFest). For information on the Jazz institute of Chicago, visit


About Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs And Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


About Jazz Institute of Chicago
Founded in 1969, the not for profit Jazz Institute of Chicago has programmed the Chicago Jazz Festival in partnership with the City of Chicago since the festival began in 1979. The organization’s mission to promote and nurture jazz in Chicago is carried out by providing jazz education for youth and adults, supporting the creation of new work by Chicago jazz musicians; growing the audience for jazz by presenting programs that are free and available for all and fostering a thriving jazz community.