Free jazz fests across the U.S. mark summer’s glorious end. Manhattan’s Charlie Parker festival (held Saturday Aug. 23 and Sunday 24 in Marcus Garvey park uptown and Tompkins Square Park downtown), the Chicago Jazz Festival (which formally starts Thursday Aug 28 with Sonny Rollins at downtown Grant Park’s Petrillo bandshell) and the Detroit International Jazz Festival (celebrating Detroit-Philadelphia music connections, Aug 29 – Sept. 1 on multiple stages along the river at Hart Plaza and down the street at Campus Martius Park) and smaller events such as the Fox Jazz Festival in Menasha, Wisconsin have become traditions.
These events feature the cream of international jazz talent — Ornette Coleman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Randy Weston, Gerald Wilson’s Orchestra, Holland’s International Composers Pool, the Fort Apache Band, Eddie Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Band, Dave Douglas, Vijay Iyer, Christian McBride, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell and Ravi Coltrane are among the best known performers, but many local artists and ensembles await discovery and enjoyment. Check local listings! Pack a picnic and head out there!