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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Englewood Jazz Festival Returns To Hamilton Park This Week

The festival, founded by an Englewood resident nearly two decades ago, celebrates emerging and established jazz musicians from Chicago and beyond.

The Englewood Jazz Fest, now in its 24th year, returns Thursday to the Hamilton Park Cultural Center.
Englewood Jazz Festival/Facebook
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ENGLEWOOD — A festival created by an Englewood musician to celebrate emerging and established jazz artists will return this week, bringing live, soulful concerts to the South Side. 

The Englewood Jazz Festival, a free, three-day celebration now in its 24th year, kicks off 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hamilton Park Cultural Center, 513. W. 72nd St. Neighbors can keep the party going at 6 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the Cultural Center. 

Ernest Dawkins, an Englewood resident and composer,  founded the music festival more than two decades ago to honor his neighborhood’s rich history. Dubbed the “Scientist of Sound,” Dawkins, a saxophonist, grew up when South Side corridors were bustling with nightclubs and music venues. 

Dawkins created his nonprofit, Live The Spirit Residency, to coach young musicians interested in composing music. The nonprofit produces the yearly jazz celebration. 

Credit: Englewood Jazz Festival
The 24th annual Englewood Jazz Music Festival will feature performances from South Side musicians and composers.
Clockwise from top left: Sean Jones, Joel Ross, Jeff Parker, Isaiah Collier, Ernest Dawkins, Frank Russell and Alexia Lombre

The festival will open Thursday with an “Afro Jazz Opera” performed by Dawkins’ Live The Spirit, his residency big band. The piece, first commissioned in 2014, channels the spirit of the South African freedom movement. Kopano, a Chicago-based singer, will provide vocals for the production.

Friday and Saturday’s festivities will feature performances from local musicians and composers like saxophonist Isaiah Collier, bassist Frank Russell and “vibraphonist” Joel Ross

The festival will take place rain or shine. Some seating will be provided, but neighbors are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and picnics to enjoy the performances. You can learn more here.

Neighbors can enjoy even more music a few minutes from the jazzy celebration at the Englewood Music Festival at the Chicago Printers Guild, 6310 S. Halsted Ave. Now in its third year, the free, all-day celebration will feature performances from rappers Trick Daddy and Trina.

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