Are you someone who loves listening to jazz? If you’re into jazz music and you love attending concerts and festivals, you came to the right place!
To save you from the hassle of spending hours or days trying to figure out what jazz festival you should attend, we provide you with a list of all the best choices. Once you go through our list of the best jazz festivals in the US, you’ll know exactly which one to visit and why!
See the best jazz clubs you can visit in Chicago.
Top Best Jazz Festivals in the US
1. PDX Jazz Festival
The first one on our list of the best jazz festivals in the US is the PDX Jazz Festival, also known as Portland Jazz Festival. This festival consists of more than 100 jazz events that are all held during the month of February.
It is one of the most popular and frequently attended jazz festivals in the US, and for a good reason. Every year, there is a new theme that the festival features, which makes it very interesting and exciting. Some of the themes that were featured in previous years include:
- Coltrane at 90
- Sinatra at 100
- Tribute to Blue Note
- The Jazz Message: Celebrating Art Blakey
The fans of this music and artists go crazy over this festival and rarely miss attending it. There is no shortage of popular and well-known artists who performed at the PDX Jazz Festival, such as Esperanza Spalding, Ravi Coltrane, Jim Hall, Nicholas Payton, Tom Grant, Wayne Shorter, Regina Carter, Morten Qvenild, Dianne Reeves, McCoy Tyner, Charles McPherson, Pharoah Sanders, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Randy Weston, David Frishberg, and so many more.
2. Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival
The next festival on our list is the Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival which takes place in Miami and is one of the most popular entertainment events there. This festival has more than 15 years of history under its belt, and it has always celebrated diversity, art, culture, and of course—jazz. Jazz, R&B, and soul music and artists are commonly featured at this festival, and it’s a perfect opportunity to see how these different genres of music interact and influence one another.
The rich beats and a variety of musical styles vibrating from the stage make this event a place to be, and all the festival-goers find themselves immersed in a world of excitement, dancing, and vibing during their stay. What’s amazing about this festival is that you can see a lot of famous artists that have risen to global fame, but also local talented people who get the opportunity to perform. The festival is inclusive, and the main goal is to showcase all the talent and be as diverse as possible. The festival takes place in March every year.
3. Reno Jazz Festival
We’ll continue with the Reno Jazz Festival which was founded in 1962 and hosted jazz students, instructors, performers, as well as fans, ever since. This festival is held at the University of Nevada, Reno, and it is focused on education, as well as on welcoming students, educators, and musicians to the university for showcases, competitions, jam sessions, and awards. The festival lasts for three days, and it is widely recognized as one of the best of its kind.
The list of famous jazz musicians who have attended this festival is a long one. However, take a look below if you want to know who were some of them:
- Jon Hendricks
- Bobby Hutcherson
- Lee Konitz
- Roy Haynes
- Maria Schneider
- Ray Brown
- Ravi Coltrane
- Art Blakey
- Charlie Haden
- Michael Brecker
- Melissa Aldana
- Dave Holland
The goal of the Reno Jazz Festival is to have each guest and performer leave with greater knowledge, appreciation, love, and understanding of music and the whole world of jazz. If you’re interested in learning about the rich history and culture of jazz and celebrating it to the fullest, you can come to this festival each April to do exactly that!
4. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, also known as Jazz Fest, is perhaps the most well-known and popular jazz festival in the entire world. Ever since it was established, the goal of the festival was to teach, educate, and celebrate the culture of New Orleans and jazz. Promoting the music, culture, and heritage of different communities in Louisiana by organizing festivals, programs, and other cultural and educational activities is another goal of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation.
This festival takes place during the last week of April and continues into the first week of May. It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions, and thousands of people come every year to see the unique bond between this city and the music that the city is known for. The festival is also one of the biggest, if not the biggest event to take place in New Orleans.
5. Beale Street Music Festival
The last one on our list of the best jazz festivals in the US is the Beale Street Music Festival which takes place in Memphis, Tennessee. This festival’s mission is to promote and celebrate Memphis culture, as well as bring people together to make memorable experiences and create a bond with this city, music, and art. The Beale Street Music Festival began in the early 1970s, and it has since become a well-organized and extremely popular event that lasts for an entire month. You can visit this festival each May since it occurs annually.
What’s interesting about this festival is that it found its way to the Guinness Book of World Records. Since it has been occurring annually for over 50 years now, this festival hosted some of the biggest names and jazz legends in history. If there is one thing to say about this event, it’s that there is never a dull moment when attending it. New artists are always brought in to broaden the scope of musicians and talent, so you can expect to have a great time and learn about new music and artists while doing so.