New Orleans may be considered the birthplace of jazz, but Chicago holds this musical genre dear to its heart. Want proof? The Hyde Park Jazz Festival features two full days of FREE, non-stop jazz music in the historic center of Chicago's jazz community: Hyde Park.
This year’s Hyde Park Jazz Festival will include over 150 jazz musicians performing for 18 hours in 13 different venues throughout the Hyde Park neighborhood, including Chicago’s own drummer/bandleader Dana Hall, who will be making his world premiere. Dates for the 2014 event include Saturday, Sept. 27, and Sunday, Sept. 28.
The popular two-day festival is a unique collaboration between academic, cultural and community institutions, as well as local businesses, which work together to present free live jazz performances in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings.
The Eighth Annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27, and Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, with two full days of free non-stop jazz music in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood — Photo courtesy of Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Pianist Craig Taborn will be performing a much anticipated solo concert on Saturday evening at 11 p.m. at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Vocalist Dee Alexander - honored as “Jazz Entertainer of the Year” in 2008 and 2010 by the Chicago Music Awards and as the city’s best singer by Chicago Magazine in 2009 - will be performing alongside Oliver Lake, a composer, saxophonist, flautist and bandleader.
Just as impressive as the lineup of performers are the performance venues themselves. Alexander and Lake will be performing on Saturday afternoon on the Midway Plaisance, a one-mile-long park that extends along 59th and 60th Streets, connecting Washington Park and Jackson Park. Other performance venues include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and the stunning Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
Chicago’s Hyde Park is only seven miles south of the Loop, and it's accessible by car, train, bus or bike. Free shuttle transportation between venues is available before, during and after all performances, and bicycling is encouraged. Parking is available in the Ellis Avenue Parking Garage (southeast corner of 55th Street and Ellis Avenue), but it’s highly advised to take alternative modes of transportation if possible.
Food and beverage vendors will be available on-site along the Midway, but there are also plenty of great restaurants throughout the area. For fine dining, make reservations ahead of time at La Petite Folie, or try Medici for a more casual atmosphere.
What began in the fall of 2007 with 5,000 jazz fans enjoying 12 free non-stop hours of live jazz performances has grown to 20,000 fans and 18 hours. Chicagoans can’t get enough of live musical performances, and this one is shaping up to be one you don’t want to miss.