Chicago, Detroit, D.C. Jazz Festivals Welcome Jazz Fans


​Ulysses Owens Jr. will lead his big band in a performance with special guest Marquis Hill at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Sept. 3.

(Photo: Courtesy of Ulysses Owens Jr.)

Jazz fans in three major U.S. metropolitan areas — Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C. — might want to hop a train or pack up the car and head into town this coming Labor Day weekend, as all three play host to their annual jazz festivals.

The Chicago Jazz Festival returns Sept. 1–4 with performances celebrating all forms of jazz on multiple stages in downtown Millennium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center. Programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the performance schedule highlights include Henry Threadgill and Zooid, Bill Frisell, William Parker and his quintet, Greg Ward, Immanuel Wilkins, Donald Harrison, Miguel Zenón, Linda May Han Oh, Adam O’Farrill, JD Allen, Jazzmeia Horn, local student jazz ensembles and others. Admission to all performances is free and no advanced reservations are required.

For a complete lineup and schedule for the Chicago Jazz Festival, click here.

The Detroit Jazz Festival, another free-admission jazz celebration, gets underway Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 4 with a parade of stars performing on four stages in downtown Motor City. Featured artists include Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet, Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya, Artemis, Antonio Sánchez & Bad Hombre, Bill Frisell Trio, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Charles McPherson, Chucho Vadés, Dianne Reeves, Monny McCaslin, Ethan Iverson, JD Allen, John Scofield, Michael Dease, DownBeat Blindfold Test with Jason Marsalis, Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band with Marquis Hill, Vijay Iyer Trio and José James, among others.

For more information on the Detroit Jazz Festival, click here.

The 18th annual DC JazzFest, which includes both free and paid-admission performances, is set to launch its lineup of acclaimed artists into an array of indoor and outdoor venues in and around the District starting tomorrow, Aug. 31, and running through Sept. 4 — culminating in a big tentpole Labor Day weekend on the scenic Potomac Riverfront at The Wharf. Headliners include Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Orrin Evans Captain Black Big Band with Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio; Regina Carter, Cindy Blackman Santana, Kurt Elling’s SuperBlue with Charlie Hunter, Emmet Cohen Trio, Patrick Zimmerli “Messages” with Chris Potter and Steve Wilson, Matthew Shipp, the 2022 DCJazzPrix emerging bands competition finalists (Akua Allrich & The Tribe, Jalen Baker Quartet and Julieta Eugenio Trio) and numerous others. On Sept. 3 at the Arena Stage, DC JazzFest will screen the 2022 documentary film Hargrove, followed by a panel discussion featuring former Roy Hargrove band pianist Marc Cary, Orrin Evans and film producer Eliane Henri.

For a complete DC JazzFest schedule, click here. DB

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September 2023
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