The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has announced the headliners performing in Millennium Park for the 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. The popular Labor Day Weekend tradition will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.), August 28-31, showcasing some of the best of jazz music from noon to 9:30 p.m. daily. Millennium Park headliners include: Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Holland, Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Sun Ra Arkestra. The free admission festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The complete schedule is expected to be announced at a later date.
On Friday, August 29 in Millennium Park, renowned bassist Rufus Reid will headline the Jay Pritzker Pavilion schedule with selections from his newly released album, Quiet Pride: The Elizabeth Catlett Project. Throughout his career as a musician, Reid has composed music for string orchestra, jazz ensembles large and small, concert band, double bass ensemble and solo bass. Reid has strong Chicago roots: after earning his Bachelor of Music degree at Northwestern in 1971, he launched his professional career in Chicago, where he lived until moving to New York in 1976.
Friday evening closes with five-time Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard, joined by Blue Note artists saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and West African guitarist Lionel Loueke. Adding to his track record as a successful artist and influential band leader, Blanchard is also a renowned film-score composer, having worked on more than 50 soundtracks, including George Lucas’s 2012 film, Red Tails, chronicling the Tuskegee Airmen.
On Saturday, August 30, vibraphone virtuoso Gary Burton will bring his quintet to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage. Burton’s two recent releases: the Grammy-nominated album, Guided Tour, and his autobiography, Learning to Listen, which chronicles his 50-year career as a bandleader, acclaimed soloist and seven-time Grammy Award winner. At 8:30 p.m., British-born bassist Dave Holland leads his quartet Prism, which stars guitarist Kevin Eubanks. Having appeared on nearly 200 albums – with artists ranging from Miles Davis to Chick Corea to Anthony Braxton to Herbie Hancock – Holland has thrilled audiences for over three decades with his own bands: groundbreaking quintets, big bands and now this neo-fusion quartet.
The festival closes on Sunday, August 31 with a vibrant performance from the “new voice of Jazz,” Grammy-nominated vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant. Performing unique interpretations of little-known and seldomly-recorded jazz and blues compositions, Salvant has graced the stage at numerous festivals nationally and internationally, including Jazz à Vienne in France, the Detroit Jazz Festival and other venues. At 8:30 p.m., current and former members of the Sun Ra Arkestra will join together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the visionary composer and self-proclaimed visitor from Saturn. Starting in Chicago in the mid-1950s and continuing until his death, the prolific Sun Ra regaled the music world with his colorful combination of cosmic philosophy, new jazz sounds and beguiling stagecraft (including dance and costumes).
The 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival’s line up will be updated throughout the spring, visit chicagojazzfestival.us for more details.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Renowned Jazz Bassist Rufus Reid will headline this year's Chicago Jazz Festival in Grant and Millennium Parks in downtown Chicago (photo courtesy of the artist).