The hazy days of summer are moving swiftly, but there’s still plenty of time to get back outside and enjoy the sunny season. To make the most of hot fun in the summertime, here are six jazz music festivals to consider attending.
Caramoor Jazz Festival in Katonah, NY (July 22, https://caramoor.org/event/jazz-festival-summer-2023/)
Hop the free shuttle from Metro North’s Katonah train station to attend this annual cultural highlight at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, presented in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center,. Daytime artists include the Anthony Hervey Quintet and the New Jazz Underground. Evening attendees will be caught up in the rapture of multiple Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Cécile McLorin Salvant. The late, great diva Jessye Norman praised McLorin Salvant’s voice as being “supported by an intelligence and full-fledged musicality, which light up every note she sings.”
While at Caramoor, explore the lush grounds, which are free and open from Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where to stay: To make it a weekend getaway, get a posh room at the Opus Westchester in White Plains, featuring the luxury Opus Spa and fine dining at Red Horse by David Burke.
Blue Note Jazz Festival in Napa Valley, CA (July 28–30, https://www.bluenotejazz.com/jazz-festival-napa/?)
There are plenty of chances to eat, drink, and turn up at this festival, hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle. Each day, a Grammy-winning Blue Note artist-in-residence collaborates with a special musical guest: De La Soul on July 28, Lalah Hathaway, Terrace Martin on July 29, and Bilal on July 30. This year’s hot ticket lineup also includes headliners Mary J. Blige, Nas, and Chance the Rapper, as well as sets by George Clinton, Big Freedia, Meshell Ndegeocello, Digable Planets, and Rakim & DJ Jazzy Jeff. Select single day, two-day, or three-day passes.
Where to stay: At press time, rooms were still available at the River Terrace Inn – A Noble House Hotel. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and free parking, and is a short walk from the Napa Valley Wine Train, a 36-mile round-trip discovery to St. Helena and back with stops at celebrated wineries along the way.
Chicago Jazz Fest in Chicago, IL (August 31–September 3, https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_jazz_festival.html)
This free annual music event in Millennium Park is a Labor Day weekend tradition. The festival draws a diverse crowd and promotes the beloved American art form of jazz with a lineup of local and national talent. General and accessible seating in Jay Pritzker Pavilion is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visitors can also bring chairs and picnic blankets for seating on the lawn.
Where to stay: While you’re in town, pick theWit (a Hilton hotel) for its striking architectural design and location in the heart of Chicago’s downtown theater, arts, and shopping district.
DC JazzFest at the Wharf in Washington, D.C. (September 2–3, https://www.dcjazzfest.org/dcjazzfest)
The District of Columbia comes alive on Labor Day weekend with this annual jazz festival on the Wharf, a bustling waterfront neighborhood south of the National Mall. Lineup highlights include Samara Joy, Kenny Garrett and Sounds from the Ancestors, and the Orrin Evans Quintet with special guest Sy Smith. Ticket options range from standing to seated and VIP.
Where to stay: Treat yourself and book the DC JazzFest package at the Salamander Washington Hotel, which includes luxury accommodations, a $200 hotel credit, jazz-inspired Afternoon Tea for two, and valet parking for one vehicle, as well as specially curated menus and soulful jazz performances on the hotel’s Garden Patio and in the Lounge.
Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival in Pittsburgh, PA (September 14–17, https://pittsburghjazzfest.org/)
Visit author August Wilson’s hometown to hear the jazzy and soulful sounds of Ledisi, Gregory Porter, Somi, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis with Friends. As a travel option to the festival, folks in the tri-state area can hop aboard the “Jazz Train,” which will depart from Amtrak stations in New York, Newark, and Philadelphia before arriving in Pittsburgh on September 14 and departing on September 18.
Where to stay: The Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown offers a special rate for festival-goers, along with perks like free Wi-Fi, complimentary hot breakfast, free midday popcorn, and a 5:30 Kickback with free food and drinks. The hotel is also close to the festival’s late night jam sessions at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.
Monterey Jazz Fest in Monterey, California (September 22–24, https://montereyjazzfestival.org/)
Celebrate summer’s end at this acclaimed festival with performances by jazz luminaries Dianne Reeves, Herbie Hancock, Samara Joy, Thundercat, and Terence Blanchard.Where to stay: Get a room with a view at the Inns of Monterey, a collection of five unique boutique hotels, including the Wave Street Inn, minutes from Cannery Row, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.