Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum MORE

If Music is a Place, then Jazz is the City

International Jazz Day brings people together to enjoy and learn about jazz and its roots, future, and impact. The day centers on celebrating how the music genre encourages intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

Chicago played a leading role in the performance, recording, and artistic evolution of jazz in the early and mid-twentieth century. Thanks to its industrial might, young workers from throughout the nation and the world moved here and many had discretionary income to spend on entertainment. The Great Migration of African Americans from Southern states also occurred during this time. The city’s increased numbers created a new demand for cabarets, cafes, restaurants, dance halls, amusement parks, and movie houses, particularly on the South Side, while also stimulating the market for musically accomplished entertainment there and in the city’s “bright light” districts. 

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive features a remarkable collection of interviews with jazz figures, including pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams, musician Jabbo Smith, and pianist and composer Eubie Blake. Listen now.

Explore the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, which features more than 1,200 programs and interviews with the twentieth century’s most fascinating people. Browse the archive.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories