The Windy City of Chicago is known for its a rich history of jazz music and was instrumental in the development of some of the genre’s important styles. The music scene in the city remains active today and boasts venues that feature both traditional jazz styles and innovative voices of the future. If you’re a fan of jazz looking to see live music in Chicago, here are some of the best places to check out.
Famous musicians from Dizzy Gillespie to Art Blakey have performed at this prestigious club in the past, and even though the Jazz Showcase has moved locations over the years, it has remained a leader in Chicago jazz since 1947. Located at Dearborn Station, the club features live music seven nights a week and even has a special Sunday afternoon matinee geared towards families. You’ll hear national stars and new local talent here, and a quick glance at the calendar makes it clear that there’s a lot of good music to be heard.
This isn’t the pizza restaurant chain; it’s a sophisticated jazz hotspot. Located at 4802 N. Broadway Ave., visitors can hear something of everything here, including traditional jazz, bebop, contemporary, improvisational, and much more. Aiming for a mix of down-to-earth friendliness and class, the Green Mill has a 1920’s art deco decor and keeps the music going all the way until dawn on many nights. It’s perfect for a wild night out with fellow jazz enthusiasts and hear authentic jazz tunes.
If you’re into experimental jazz, you’ll love Constellation. Founded by drummer Mike Reed, the sole mission of this club is to introduce progressive performances and forward-thinking music to their visitors, with the majority of the programming being jazz music. Located at 3111 N Western Ave, Constellation doesn’t host musical acts every night, but when there is something scheduled, it’s definitely worth hearing.
Andy’s is a club with a full restaurant, making it an ideal place to enjoy a good meal while listening to some great jazz. Most nights, you’ll hear local jazzers playing traditional, swing, bop, fusion, Latin or Afro-pop. Famous international acts also play at Andy’s as part of their Spotlight Performer Series. With two shows every night, you can always hear something good at Andy’s. The club is located at 11 E. Hubbard.
The Elastic Arts Foundation
Many different musical performances can be found at the Elastic Arts Foundation but the Thursday night improvised music series is unlike any other Chicago jazz experience. Held in an intimate gallery located on 3429 W Diversey Ave, this night is an assorted grab bag of music and (just like jazz) you never know what you’re going to hear next. Everyone who plays on this series is passionate about what they do, making each performance thrilling to watch.