WOODLAWN — A five-week outdoor jazz series will return to Woodlawn for its second season this weekend.
The Cosmic Alley Jazz Jam and Slam takes place 3-7 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 21 at Mamie Till-Mobley Park, 6404 S. Ellis Ave.
The series kicks off Sunday with the Sun Ensemble, which will return for another concert in the park Aug. 7. The other featured performers are the Mahon Factor July 31, the Vincent Davis Trio Aug. 14 and the Christmas Collective of Everyday Heroes Aug. 21.
This season’s performances are hosted by stand-up comedian Reggie Reg. In case of rain, performances will be held at the Quarry, 2423 E. 75th St. in South Shore.
All musicians belong to the Cosmic Alley jazz collective, which has existed for decades, said Genora Stone, president of Mamie Till-Mobley Park’s advisory council. Local vendors will also sell their wares at each performance.
“It’s bringing culture to the community — having a safe, relaxing place to enjoy yourself without leaving your community for entertainment,” Stone said.
Woodlawn neighbors loved the jazz jam’s debut season last year, initially confusing it for the Hyde Park Jazz Fest before realizing “it was in our own backyards,” Stone said. Crowds grew with each performance, making it a certainty the series would return this year, she said.
The concerts are free, but the park’s council will accept donations on-site to sustain the jazz jam alongside other programs, Stone said.
Members are looking to commission artwork honoring Till-Mobley, the Woodlawn resident and educator whose teenage son, Emmett Till, was brutally murdered in a 1955 hate crime. They’re also working to replace the park’s Little Free Library, which was recently vandalized.
“With everything we do in the park, we honor Mamie, because she was all about children and families,” Stone said.
Supporters can donate to the park’s advisory council through CashApp at $MamieTillMobleyPac.
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