The great performers who live and tour here of course set the standard, but there’s another key factor at play: the audience.
Chicago listeners have been encountering jazz innovations for well over a century and long ago developed a taste for the avant-garde. Ragtime music first reached the wider public during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; jazz progenitor Jelly Roll Morton came here as early as 1910 and settled in during the Roaring Twenties; improvisational genius Louis Armstrong made his greatest, groundbreaking recordings in Chicago at the same time; the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) reinvented the music starting in 1965; and so forth.
Though these artists experienced varying degrees of financial reward (or deprivation), they found in Chicago a public willing to entertain revolutionary concepts.
And that happens to be an important theme of the 13th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which will run Sept. 28-29 in venues throughout the historic neighborhood.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival Executive Director Kate Dumbleton (right) receives the “2019 Jazz Hero Award” from the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) at the Logan Café, 915 E. 60th St. Grammy-award winning journalist, music critic and radio host Neil Tesser made the presentation during a break between sets of the Café’s Third Tuesday Jazz series on April 16, 2019. Jazz journalist Michael Jackson wrote of Dumbleton on the JJA Jazz Awards’s website: “The choice of … Kate Dumbleton as the JJA’s 2019 Chicago Jazz Hero is a no-brainer. She is chiefly revered in the jazzosphere for helping transform the neighborhood Hyde Park Jazz Festival into an event of national and international repute.”
When it comes to jazz, Chicago is one of THE American cities, with a vibrant and varied local scene. It also has one of the nation’s great annual festivals, but there’s another, not as well known, deserving attention. The city’s Hyde Park section (home to the University of Chicago) hosts a two-day festival (Sep. 29th-30th) with varied talent of both local (The Chicago Yestet, DJ Sadie Woods, Kenwood Academy Jazz Band directed by Gerald Powell, Mike Reed, Maggie Brown) and national (Kris Davis, Ryan Cohan, Christian Sands) renown…Jazz fans throughout America and beyond: know this festival.