Yes, it’s time once again for the 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, a three-day celebration of so many great things about our fair city – fantastically swinging music, beautiful parkland wedged between Lake Michigan and the glittering skyline, and one last chance to get together for a citywide party.
This year’s slate is typically impressive, with a solid combination of high-profile outsiders and hard-charging locals set to keep the weekend swinging. The fun starts Friday night in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph) with a star-studded Saxophone Summit, while Saturday and Sunday are full-day affairs across the street in Grant Park (Jackson & Columbus) featuring music on multiple stages beginning around noon each day – including sets from singer Cassandra Wilson, saxophonist David Sanchez and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Call 312/744-3315 for more information and a complete talent lineup.
Outside of the Fest, don’t be surprised to find plenty of jazz happenings all around town. To hear even more live music, pick up CDs or vinyl albums by some of the artists or just hang out amid the vibe of this great weekend, be sure to hit the legendary Jazz Record Mart (27 E. Illinois; 312/222-1467), a one-of-a-kind cultural treasure in the Midwest and a must-stop experience for jazz fans and anyone else who enjoys the tactile pleasure of an afternoon spent digging through the stacks. Or for a historical take on Chicago’s jazz legacy, take a walk through the past on the Jazz and Blues Tour from Chicago Detours (25 E. Washington; 312/350-1131).