The Jazz Showcase

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The Jazz Showcase is the oldest jazz club in Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1947 by NEA Jazz Master Joe Segal, who still owns and operates the venue.[1][2] Thousands of people have had their first live jazz experience at one of Segal's showcases. They have served as a launch pad for individual careers, and have brought some of the biggest names in the music to Chicago. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie is said to have celebrated his birthday performing there for many years.

Famous performers who have appeared[edit]

Many famous musicians play at the Showcase, including: Eddie Harris (jazz saxophonist)

Live recordings[edit]


Having changed location numerous times since its founding, the club relocated again in 2008 to its current South Plymouth Court location on the side of the rebuilt Dearborn Station, in Chicago, Illinois. To honor Segal, South Plymouth Court was renamed Joe Segal Way by the City of Chicago at the behest of Alderman Bob Fioretti.[4]

Club owner[edit]

Joe Segal (April 24, 1926 - ) has owned the Jazz Showcase since 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career as a club owner as a college presenter at Roosevelt University. He is Chicago's second longest-tenured jazz club owner. He helped found the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Born April 24, 1926 in Philadelphia, he grew up listening to the sounds of Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and Fats Waller on the radio. When he was old enough, he would go down to the Earl Theater to catch it live.

The Air Force drafted Segal in 1944. They stationed him for a time in Champaign, Illinois. When he had leave, he would get on the train to Chicago to catch live jazz on Randolph Street. Following his discharge, Segal moved to Chicago and enrolled in Roosevelt University on the G.I. Bill and worked at different jazz venues around the city. In 1947, Segal signed up with the university jazz club. For the next ten years he ran live jazz sessions in the afternoons on the campus that featured musicians he had met working at commercial jazz venues around town. He presented local and visiting artists including Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and Lester Young.

In 1957, Segal ran his showcase shows in what he estimated was 63 different locations over the years. By the 1970s, Segal opened a formal club called the Jazz Showcase on Rush Street. He gave the performers a five evening run with a Sunday show to encourage young people to attend.

In 2013, Segal received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Roosevelt University. In 2014, Segal was given the rare honor of being a club owner/presenter chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts as an NEA Jazz Master.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°53′29″N 87°37′49″W / 41.89139°N 87.63028°W / 41.89139; -87.63028