The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) announces the
2023/24 Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Jazz series programming. Established in
1994, the eight-concert series celebrates its 30th season, continuing its commitment to presenting some of today’s living legends and rising stars of jazz. Highlights of the 2023/24 SCP Jazz series include the Symphony Center debut of Grammy Award- winner Samara Joy to open the season and the return of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis for a four-concert residency that features both an SCP Jazz series concert and side-by-side performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The series also welcomes NEA Jazz Master Herbie Hancock and drummer and 2022 Chicago Tribune “Chicagoan of the Year for Jazz” Makaya McCraven back to the series. Explore the 2023/24 SCP Jazz series program listings for more information.
“Since its first concert in 1994, the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series has been an important part of our programming by welcoming both legendary and trailblazing jazz musicians to the Orchestra Hall stage to share their artistry with our dedicated audience in Chicago,” said James Fahey, Senior Director of Programming for Symphony Center Presents. “For this milestone season, we are pleased to again present today’s leading jazz musicians in order to allow us all to discover the very best in jazz today.”
The 2023/24 Season of the SCP Jazz series opens on Friday, October 27, at 8:00 p.m. with the Symphony Center debut of the 2023 Grammy Award-winner for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album, Samara Joy. Joy brings fresh purpose to jazz with her distinct style, charm and vocal dexterity. Her voice is deeply emotive and rich, with some comparing her to iconic jazz vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
On Friday, November 17, at 8:00 p.m., Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Brad Mehldau and his trio return to Symphony Center for a night of original music. The trio, featuring Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, have a nearly 20-year history, touring the world and recording six highly acclaimed albums together. The trio’s signature live performance experience offers audiences a chance to go deep into the essence of jazz improv exploration, alongside references to classical romanticism and pop music.
Drummer and one of the Chicago Tribune’s Chicagoans of the Year (2022) Makaya
McCraven returns to Symphony Center and the SCP Jazz series on Friday, January 19, 2024, at 8:00 p.m.
McCraven brings a musical vision blending past, present and future into poly-textural arrangements of post-genre, jazz-rooted, 21st-century folk music.
The program will showcase McCraven’s melodic and engaging music, inviting audiences to discover why he has been aptly called a “cultural synthesizer.”
The eight-time Grammy Award-winning bassist, bandleader and host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America Christian McBride brings his monumental musical tribute The
Movement Revisited to Symphony Center on Friday, February 2, 2024, at 8:00 p.m.
The program is a tribute inspired by the work of 1960s civil rights movement leaders and champions Rosa Park, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali, as well as Barack Obama. The large-ensemble tribute features McBride on bass, a gospel choir, narrators, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and J.D. Steele as musical director.
The 2023/24 Season continues with legendary jazz bassist and three-time Grammy
Award-winner Ron Carter leading his Foursight Quartet on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. in its Symphony Center debut. Over a 60-year career, Carter has recorded with many of the jazz greats, with more than 2,000 recordings in his catalog. He is joined by Renee Rosnes (piano), Jimmy Greene (tenor saxophone) and Payton Crossley (drums).
This concert also features The Blue Note Quintet, led by six-time Grammy-nominated pianist Gerald Clayton, and honors the 85th anniversary of Blue Note Records. The ensemble includes Immanuel Wilkins (alto saxophone), Joel Ross (vibes), Matt Brewer (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums).
The 30th season of the SCP Jazz series reaches a high point with Chicago native Herbie Hancock on Saturday, March 30, at 8:00 p.m. With a 26-year history on the series, Hancock brings his free-ranging and transformative performances back to Symphony Center. Hancock has an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14
Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year in 2008 for River: The Joni Letters.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by its dynamic bandleader and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, returns to Symphony Center for a four-day residency beginning with an SCP Jazz series concert on Wednesday, April 24, at 8:00 p.m.
Arguably one of today’s greatest jazz bands, the 15-member Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra consists of the finest soloists, ensemble players and arrangers today. The program features the works of Duke Ellington, commemorating the 125th anniversary of his birth in 2024. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis then continues its residency in three performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero (April 25-27, 2024).
The 2023/24 SCP Jazz series concludes on Friday, May 17, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. with a program featuring vocalist and NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves, iconic Afro-Cuban
jazz pianist Chucho Valdés and saxophonist Joe Lovano. These three legendary artists have won a combined 13 Grammy Awards and will join forces for an unforgettable evening at Symphony Center.
Beyond the eight concerts in the 2023/24 SCP Jazz series, several Symphony Center
Presents special concerts have already been announced. Additionally, on Friday, March 8, 2024, at 8:00 p.m., Eliades Ochoa makes his Symphony Center debut for a SCP special concert. Ochoa is one of the stars and founders of the Buena Vista Social Club and is recognized as one of the best guitarists and Cuban soneros of his generation.
Ochoa recently announced a new album called (Guajiro), due for release on May 26.
The album features many of his own compositions and is the most intimate and
personal Ochoa has ever recorded.