Jennifer Johnson Washington 2014 Chicago Jazz Hero






For Immediate Release

Elastic Arts Foundation

773-772-3616   www.elasticarts.org

A party honoring Jennifer Johnson Washington as Chicago Jazz Hero 2014 will be hosted on Saturday, June 21 by Elastic Arts Foundation located at 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor.  Doors open at 6:30 with the party to honor Jennifer at 7 p.m. The party is free and features appetizers from Friendship Restaurant and Brother Thelonius Ale from North Coast Brewing.  Space is limited and reservations are suggested through this email address: info@elasticrevolution.com.  Following the party theKatie Ernst Trio will perform in honor of Jennifer at 8:30.  Cover charge for the performance is $10.

The Jazz Hero Award is part of the Jazz Journalist Association’s recognition of outstanding jazz musicians throughout the U.S. and other countries across the world; other contributors to the music; and those who support jazz in the many ways that are often not known by the general public.  Jennifer has been a major player in coordinating the Chicago Jazz Festival for the past 20 years. Presenting the award to Jennifer will be NeilTesser, noted jazz writer and 2014 Grammy Award winnerA proclamation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel honoring Jennifer will be read as part of his presentation.

This announcement of Jennifer Washington as 2014 Jazz Herocoincided with the world-wide celebration of April as Jazz Appreciation Month following the lead of Smithsonian Jazz, creator of Jazz Appreciation Month, UNESCO, the TheloniousMonk Institute, sponsors of International Jazz Day (and producers of a jazz-star-studded concert that was live streamed from Osaka, Japan on April 30) and the Jazz Journalists Association headquartered in New York City.

JENNIFER JOHNSON WASHINGTON has overseen virtually every production detail of the internationally acclaimed Chicago Jazz Festival for 20 years. From her position as Director of Programming for Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Washington’s team is responsible for many large-scale civic events, including the city’s Blues Festival, Gospel Music Festival, World Music Festival, and various other music and dance productions in the city center – she also acts as the artists Hospitality Coordinator for the Taste of Chicago, a 5-day extravaganza of food and music on the Chicago lakeshore.


But Washington’s involvement with the Chicago Jazz Festival represents her longest relationship with any of these signature Chicago events. Since 1993, she has steered this massive undertaking through the shoals and narrows of municipal bureaucracy – first as the city’s liaison to the festival’s Programming Committee, then as a full-fledged member of that committee, and finally Jazz Festival Coordinator. (These challenges have included financial restrictions, shrinking sponsorship, and most recently the move from the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park to a strikingly different venue in the city’s still-new Millennium Park).  Jazz was not her first love, but she has embraced the festival from the time she arrived, and has developed into one of the most committed advocates of the festival and of the music itself.


Washington earned her B.A. in Management and Marketing from Mundelein College before joining the staff of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (formerly the Mayor's Office of Special Events), in 1986, as an intern in for the City’s Neighborhood Festival Program. Offered a full-time position with the Special Events in 1988, she was soon promoted to Production Coordinator for the Neighborhood Festival Program – handling logistics for some 80 neighborhood events each year – and later joined the city’s Corporate Sponsorship team, where her hands-on experience proved valuable in approaching potential sponsors for the city’s free lakefront festivals.


Throughout her tenure at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Washington has shown a willingness to compromise, and a gift for problem-solving, that one always hopes to (but rarely does) find among government agencies. These skills have shepherded the Chicago Jazz Festival through its 25th, 30th, and 35thanniversary celebrations, and helped ensure the long-range future of this signature American jazz event.


Cultural Crossroads: Miyumi Project Meets Great Black Music Ensemble


  Prepare for a feast for both eyes and ears! Tatsu Aoki’s Miyumi Project has long incorporated Great Black Music Ensemble Director Mwata Bowden into its unique amalgam of traditional Japanese music and jazz. Bowden’s leadership of Great Black Music Ensemble has redefined the art of improvised composition in the context of swing. Come listen as two musical brothers unite to explore their musical and cultural connections.



Friday, December 13, 2013 - 7:00pm


This is a Free event.





(312) 427-1676




Garfield Park Conservatory 

300 North Central Park Avenue

Chicago, IL 

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