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24th Annual Englewood Jazz Festival set for September 14-16 at Hamilton Park

Fest features Sean Jones, Joel Ross, Jeff Parker, Isaiah Collier, Marques Carroll, Alexis Lombre, Frank Russell, Ernest Dawkins, and many more

Long an annual tradition, “Live the Spirit Residency” presents the free 24th Annual Englewood Jazz Festival on September 14, 15 and 16 at Hamilton Park and Cultural Center located at 513 W. 72nd St.

This year the three-day festival illuminates emerging and established homegrown artists that demonstrate “Live the Spirit Residency’s” deep commitment to educating and mentoring the next generation of jazz artists.

Featured artists include pianist Alexis Lombre (performing the World Premiere of her new work Synesthesia, Pt. 1); vibraphonist Joel Ross, recent winner of Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll vibraphone category; and saxophonist and Festival Resident Artist Isaiah Collier. These artists have all achieved national and international recognition, thanks to “Live the Spirit Residency” and its leader Ernest Dawkins’ long-term dedication to music education, mentoring, and inter-generational knowledge exchange.

The festival will open on Thursday, September 14, with a reprise of Dawkins’ Memory in the Center, an Afro Jazz Opera, originally commissioned and performed for the city’s “Made in Chicago” series in Millennium Park in 2014. This project reflects the determination and spirit that energized the South African freedom movement led by Nelson Mandela by foregrounding the influential women in Mandela’s life – Winnie Mandela and Graça Machel – through the powerful voice of Chicago’s own multidisciplinary artist Kopano. It will be performed by the “Live the Spirit Residency” Big Band.

“I’m revisiting this work because its message of self-determination, as an engine of progress, has become even more important for people to hear at this moment,” said Dawkins. This work will also be performed soon at Poetry Africa, in honor of the 10th anniversary of Mandela’s passing.

The Festival Residency has given saxophonist Isaiah Collier’s Chosen Few Ensemble the space and support to advance new musical ideas. Collier says, “The experience of being raised in an environment like Chicago, where there have been so many opportunities to develop my vision, has been pivotal to my success.”

The young masters will get a chance to strut while established Chicago artists, including bassist Frank Russell, New Horizons with special guest guitarist Jeff Parker, and trumpeter Marques Carroll, who will summit with NY trumpeter Sean Jones, round out this community-centered celebration.

The festival takes place rain or shine, moving indoors in case of inclement weather. Some seating is provided, but attendees are advised to bring their own chairs, blankets, picnics, and an appetite for the kind of music that uplifts and transforms the human spirit!

Additionally, as part of this event, to honor those whose work has helped shape and strengthen the foundation of jazz in Chicago, the annual Spirit of Jazz Awards will be presented to:

• Wayne Segal, Owner of the Jazz Showcase

• Mashaune Hardy, Associate Director of Partnerships & Strategy, Logan Center

• Pharez Whitted, Director of Jazz Studies, NIU

Sponsors of the Englewood Jazz Festival include WDCB Radio and the Chicago Park District.

Ernest Dawkins is a saxophonist and composer, whose life goal is for his music and compositions to reflect the evolving collective cultural memory of the African American jazz aesthetic. His four decades of work as a professional artist, educator and community-based organizer are widely recognized for shaping the contemporary cultural landscape of Chicago and beyond. He is the founder and executive director of “Live the Spirit Residency” and past Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). He is responsible for many commissions and holds other leadership positions.

Further information is available at

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