It was billed as the last Chicago gig for jazz legend Ramsey Lewis.
The 83-year-old Chicagoan and three-time Grammy Award winner played to an enthusiastic crowd Saturday night in Millennium park, headlining the Pritzker Pavilion for the 40th anniversary of the free Chicago Jazz Festival.
In an interview with the Sun-Times published Friday, Ramsey would not confirm the festival would indeed be his last Chicago performance, saying only he was cutting way, way back on his schedule, hinting at retirement, and that returning to the Highland Park-based Ravinia Festival seemed the most viable option down the road.
“I may play Ravinia,” Ramsey said. “They’ve been very, very good to me. But I’m definitely cutting way back. It’s difficult to play both Ravinia and Chicago. I haven’t played Chicago in so many years. I play Ravinia almost every year.”
Also on the bill Saturday night were the Kenny Barron Quintet, and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.
The lakeside festival concludes Sunday at the Pritzker Pavilion, featuring a Second-line Procession, guitarist Fareed Haque and his Funk Brothers, the Eric Revis Quartet featuring saxophonist Ken Vandermark, the legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker and more.
Here’s the lineup (subject to change without notice):
NextGenJazz (Harris Rooftop)
11:15 am – Noon: Derek Duleba Quartet
12:15 – 1 pm: Cesar Martinez’s Cuicatl
1:15 – 2 pm: Morgan Pirtle+5
2:15 – 3 pm: Greg Uhlmann’s Typical Sisters
3:15-4 pm: Jahari Stampley Ensemble
Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South)
11:30 am – 12:25 pm: Tribute to John Wright
12:40 – 1:35 pm: Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die
1:50 – 2:45 pm: Jason Stein Quartet
3 – 4 pm: Eric Revis Quartet featuring Ken Vandermark
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North)
Noon –1 pm: Quentin Coaxum Quintet
1:30 – 2:30 pm: – Alejandro Urzagaste’s Flow featuring Bill Carrothers
3 – 4pm: Fareed Haque and his Funk Brothers
Park Grill Plaza Stage
Noon – 2 pm: Lucas Gillian
4 – 6 pm: Irvin Pierce
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
3:45pm: Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn)
4:15–5:05pm: Matt Ulery’s Loom Large
5:25–6:10pm: Arturo O’Farrill Sextet
6:25–7:25pm: Charles McPherson-Barry Harris Quartet
7:45–9pm: Maceo Parker