- New York
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
The ubiquity of jazz festivals in the USA attests to the genre’s adaptability and wide-ranging appeal.
Even small cities host festivals, some lasting just a day while others – such as the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle and the Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York City – span a full month of events and concerts. From music with a view to festivals paired with history and heritage, here’s a guide to a sampling of great jazz celebrations in the USA.
Tucson Jazz Festival – Tucson, Arizona
While other parts of the world bundle up for winter, the sunny desert city of Tucson hosts a jazz festival during two weeks in January. A newcomer to the jazz festival scene, the event debuted in 2015 and has quickly grown in popularity. Previous headliners have included Hot Sardines, Sheila E. and Arturo Sandoval.
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival – Moscow, Idaho
Founded in 1967 and renamed after jazz great Lionel Hampton in 1985, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is at the University of Idaho campus in Moscow, two hours south of Coeur d’Alene. This February event boasts performances by household names, including the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, and student performers as well. The festival was honored in 2008 with the National Medal of Arts, which is one of the most prestigious arts awards in the USA.
PDX Jazz Festival and Vanport Jazz Festival – Portland, Oregon
During 11 days in February, Portland recognizes Black History Month with the PDX Jazz Festival. Enjoy more than 100 free and paid events in various venues by local, new and established artists. The one-day Vanport Jazz Festival in August brings attention to Portland’s enduring jazz heritage at the site of a flood that displaced a historically black neighborhood.