Chicago Jazz Festival


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Chicago Jazz Festival

August-September, four days preceding Labor Day
In the 1920s a four-block area along Chicago's State Street, known to the black community as "the Stroll," was the mecca of the jazz world. It was here that jazz took root in the city, establishing Chicago as a center for this uniquely American music. Shortly after the great composer-bandleader Duke Ellington died in 1974, a group of Chicago musicians got together to hold a concert in his honor; after that, the Ellington Concert became an annual event. A similar memorial concert was held for saxophonist John Coltrane in 1978, and the following year these two events merged with the jazz festival already being planned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Now it is the most extensive free jazz festival in the world, drawing an estimated audience of 400,000 and featuring such well-known artists as Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, and Wynton Marsalis.
A number of major jazz events have occurred at the festival, such as the world premiere of Randy Weston's African Sunrise by Dizzy Gillespie and the Machito All-Star Orchestra in 1984, or the rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung in honor of Charlie Parker, the great jazz improviser, who was born on August 29, 1920, and died March 12, 1955.
CONTACTS:
Jazz Institute of Chicago
410 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 943
Chicago, IL 60605
312-427-1676; fax: 312-427-1684
www.chicagojazzfestival.org
SOURCES:
MusFestAmer-1990, p. 191
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