Jazz Around Town
Jazz in Chicago was in danger in 1969. The city's clubs were struggling and rock n' roll was king. That's when the Jazz Institute
of Chicago was born.
The founders wanted to preserve the historical roots of Chicago jazz, to ensure the music would not be lost at a time when
rock had become the reigning cultural and financial force in American music. Almost forty years later, the Jazz Institute
can claim many successes, from the internationally recognized Chicago Jazz Festival, which the Institute has programmed since
the festival's inception in 1979, to the new summer jazz series in Millennium Park, to the Jazz Links program, which gives
high school students the opportunity to perform with world-class professionals.
The Jazz Institute of Chicago encourages all forms of jazz while showcasing the talents of local performers. But executive director Lauren Deutsch says
jazz does more than entertain. It can teach us a few lessons, too, because improvisation is a model for living and for democracy.
"[Jazz] requires... listening and contributing... It looks beyond color, beyond ethnic origin, and in fact welcomes diversity,"
says Deutsch. "We're all improvising everyday... in every sort of problem solving situation, and the more we're able to...
feel confident about how we respond to those situations, the better we feel about ourselves."
Meet Chicago jazz artists
Malachi Thompson and the Freebop Band,
Nicole Mitchell and the Black Earth Ensemble,
Ernest Dawkins' New Horizon Ensemble, and
Find our more about other Chicago jazz organizations, the
Chicago Jazz Orchestra,
Chicago's Jazzfest Heritage Music Weekend and the
Explore more Illinois jazz with
Jean Kittrell, and the
New Arts Jazztet with Phil Brown.
Meet dance troupes dedicated to jazz dance: Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and the
Jump Rhythm Jazz Project.