For several years now, the heart of the Chicago Jazz Festival has been in Millennium Park. This year the four days of the fest also include programming at the Cultural Center (from 11 AM till 5:15 PM on Thursday, September 1) and a lunchtime show at the Maxwell Street Market on Sunday, September 4. Around the city, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and local music organizations have jointly booked more than a dozen neighborhood concerts from Tuesday, August 23, through Wednesday, August 31.
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Of course, the local venues that routinely host jazz aren’t about to stop during the jazziest weekend of the year—in fact, many of them put in extra effort to attract concertgoers in a festival mood. Below I’ve listed the best of those shows. If you stick it out till the last note at Pritzker Pavilion, you’ll get to some of these pretty late—but not too late to enjoy some top-shelf music.
Matt Ulery and Quin Kirchner jam session; Matt Ulery, Mike Gamble, and Jeremy Cunningham; Matt Ulery & Mike Gamble Wed 8/31, 9 PM, the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee, free, 21+
Jam session with Eric Schneider Thu 9/1-Sat 9/3, 8 and 10 PM; Sun 9/4, 8 PM, Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct., $20-$40, 21+
JD AllenThu 9/1, 9:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $20, 18+
Dave Rempis, Jason Adasiewicz, Joshua Abrams, and Tyler DamonThu 9/1, 8:30 PM, Elastic Arts, 3429 W. Diversey #208, $15, all ages
AtomicFri 9/2, 9:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $25, 18+
Kris Davis solo, Ben Goldberg & Geof BradfieldSat 9/3, 9:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $20, 18+
Soul Message BandSun 9/4, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, $10, 21+