The 39th annual Chicago Jazz Festival will pay tribute to the centennials of three legends of the genre when the free lakefront fest returns to Millennium Park Aug. 31-Sept. 3, it was announced today by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Jazz artists will celebrate the music of Dizzy Gillespie (Aug. 31), Thelonious Monk (Sept. 1) and Ella Fitzgerald (Sept. 2), while legendary Chicago guitarist George Freeman (whose albums include the collaborative “Concert: Friday the 13th Cook County Jail” in 1973, and the 2015 release “All in the Family” with Chico Freeman) will celebrate his 90th birthday with an Aug. 31 performance at the fest.
Gillespie, who appeared at the festival in 1980, 1984 and 1989, will be honored by a lineup of jazz artists that includes Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band featuring local musicians and special guest artists Jimmy Heath, Ignacio Berrora, Antonio Hart and Todd Coolman.
The Sept. 2 “Ellabration! 100 Years of Ella Fitzgerald” tribute will feature the Brad Williams Trio, Sheila Jordan, Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, Spider Saloff and Paul Mariano. Fitzgerald performed at the festival in 1981.
The lineup for the Monk tribute will be announced in June. Up-to-date information on the fest, which is programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, can be found at chicagojazzfestival.us.
Here’s the lineup for the Jazz Festival to date:
Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
6:30–7:30 p.m. George Freeman 90th Birthday Celebration
8–9:00 p.m. Dizzy Gillespie’s Centennial Celebration with Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band
5–5:50 p.m. Dana Hall’s Spring
6–6:55 p.m. Donny McCaslin Group
7:10–8:10 p.m. Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio
8:30–9:30 p.m. Thelonious Monk Tribute
5–5:50 p.m. Dr. Michael White Quartet
6–6:55 p.m. BassDrumBone
7:10–8:10 p.m. Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom
8:30–9:30 p.m. Ellabration! 100 Years of Ella Fitzgerald featuring the Brad Williams Trio, Sheila Jordan, Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, Spider Saloff and Paul Mariano
5–5:50 p.m. Roscoe Mitchell’s Quartets celebrating 50 years of Nessa Records
6–6:55 p.m. Sheila Jordan featuring the Steve Kuhn Trio
7:10–8:10 p.m. Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt
8:30–9:30 p.m. Rebirth Brass Band