Muhal Richard Abrams
  • courtesy of the Chicago Jazz Festival
  • Muhal Richard Abrams

This morning the city announced the full lineup of the annual Chicago Jazz Festival in September. (Full disclosure: I serve on the volunteer committee that programs the event). The focus in 2015 is squarely on the 50th anniversary of Chicago’s deeply influential and paradigm-shifting Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), including a rare performance by the Experimental Band, led by pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, that concludes the festival—the group is widely considered the first AACM ensemble, a kind of workshop project for members to work out their radical ideas. The current iteration is packed with heavies, including reedists Henry Threadgill, Wallace McMillan, and Roscoe Mitchell; trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; pianist Amina Claudine Myers; bassist Leonard Jones; trombonist George Lewis; and percussionists Thurman Barker and Reggie Nicholson. Other AACM sets include the Jeff Parker Trio, Douglas Ewart and Inventions, and Steve & Iqua Colson. Other highlights include performances by the Craig Taborn Trio, the Mark Turner Quartet, Jose James (performing the music of Billie Holiday), the Jason Roebke Octet, and Bobby Hutcherson. See the full schedule below.

Thursday, September 3

Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center

12:15-1:15 PM – Andrew Trim’s Hanami Quartet
1:45-2:45 PM – Lucy Smith
3:15-4:15 PM – “What’s This Thing Called Jazz?” From Mainstream to AACM and Beyond with Dee Alexander and Miguel de la Cerna

Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center

12:30-1:30 PM – Ben Waltzer
2-3 PM – James Davis’s Beveled

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

6:30-7:30 PM – Marquis Hill Blacktet
8-9 PM – Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein and the Hot 9

Friday, September 4

Von Freeman Pavilion, Millennium Park

12-12:55 PM – Rajiv Halim Quintet
1:10-2:05 PM – Jeremy Cunningham Quartet
2:30-3:15 PM – Neusa Sauer
3:30-4:30 PM – Craig Taborn Trio

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion, Millennium Park

12:30-1:30 PM – Spin Quartet
2-3 PM – Art Hoyle Sextet: Clark Terry Tribute
3:30-4:40 PM – Bobby Lewis Sextet

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

5-5:50 PM – Chico Freeman: Chicago Project featuring George Freeman
6-6:55 PM – José James: Billie Holiday Tribute
7:10-8:10 PM – Bobby Hutcherson Quintet
8:30-9:30 PM – Billy Strayhorn Centennial Celebration with Chicago Jazz Orchestra playing Arrangements of Strayhorn Songs By Edward Wilkerson, John Hollenbeck, Steven Bernstein, and Gordon Goodwin

Saturday, September 5

Von Freeman Pavilion, Millennium Park

12-12:55 PM – Trio WAZ
1:10-2:05 PM – Mike Schlick Trio
2:20-3:15 PM – Brian Gephart Sextet
3:30-4:30 PM – Ryan Cohan Quartet featuring Joe Locke

Jazz & Heritage Pavilion, Millennium Park

12:30-1:30 PM – Makaya McCraven Quartet
2-3 PM – Juan Pastor’s Chinchano
3:30-4:40 PM – Jason Roebke Octet

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

5-5:50 PM – Douglas Ewart and Inventions
6-6:55 PM – The Claudia Quintet with Theo Bleckmann
7:10-8:10 PM – Mark Turner Quartet
8:30-9:30 PM – Dee Dee Bridgewater

Sunday, September 6

Von Freeman Pavilion, Millennium Park

12-12:55 PM – Jordan Baskin Trio
1:10-2:05 PM – Elaine Dame
2:20-3:15 PM – Ryan Schultz
3:30-4:30 PM – Robert Irving III Generations

Jazz & Heritage Pavilion, Millennium Park

12:30-1:30 PM – Bob Dogan Quintet
2-3 PM – Bill McFarland & the Chicago Horns
3:30-4:40 PM – Steve & Iqua Colson . . . 40 years in the Movement

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

5-5:50 PM – Jeff Parker Trio
6-6:55 PM – Jane Bunnett and Manqueque
7:10-8:10 PM – Cyrille Aimee
8:30-9:30 PM – Muhal Richard Abrams’s Experimental Band with Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Wadada Leo Smith, Amina Claudine Myers, George Lewis, Leonard Jones, Thurman Barker, Wallace McMillan, and Reggie Nicholson

Today’s playlist:

Rydvall & Mjelva, Isbrytaren (Heilo)
Assagai, Zimbabwe (Keyhole)
Prince Alla & Junior Ross, I Can Hear the Children Singing (Blood & Fire)
Tindersticks, The Something Rain (Constellation)
Ran Blake, Plays Solo Piano (ESP-Disk)