From Blues to EDM: Chicago music history

Chicago is known for many things; its deep dish, the Bean, the Cubs, to name a few. Some may forget that Chicago has been a part of music history for over seven decades. Not only has the city brought us the Chicago Blues sub-genre of jazz, it has been at the center of the creation of House music. Home to historic music venues; the Aragon Ballroom, the Metro, and the now non-existent Warehouse, and to music festivals; Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Riot Fest, and North Coast, Chicago is more than just a windy city, its a musical one too.

Its History:

Chicago jazz music dates back to 1917 during the Great Migration. At this time, black artists moved north, bringing “Dixieland Jazz” with them. This style of developed into Chicago blues jazz, a sub-genre of jazz that greatly influenced the early years rock n’ roll. Chicago attracted famous jazz artists, Louie Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Despite the decline of jazz in the 20th century, the genre has remained popular in Chicago. Every year the city hosts the Chicago Jazz Festival, which attracts jazz performers from around the world.

Chicago isn’t just a city that loves jazz, it is also where house music was founded.
The now non-existent night club, The Warehouse, was where the music was pioneered by DJ Frankie Knuckles in 1984. Originally kept underground and played in clubs frequented by gays and African Americans, the genre quickly became popular and spread across the United States and into Europe.


Chicago is home to dozens of live music festivals every year. Whether you want country, EDM, hardcore, or indie, Chicago is hosting a festival for you. Two of the most popular festivals being; Pitchfork's July Chicago concerts and Lollapalooza's August Chicago concerts. Both of these festivals attract major named artists and groups such as Radiohead, The Cure, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, and others. Both of which are hosted in the Summer, thousands of people gather in Grant Park and Union Park, respectively for a weekend in order to watch their favorite music acts perform. Both of these festivals gather a diverse palette of performers, making sure there is something for almost everyone.


The Sutherland Lounge is a national landmark. The Aragon Ballroom is where Nirvana played there last show in Chicago. The Metro is where artists such as Kanye West got there start. Each of these venues is historic in their own right, and they all belong to Chicago.
Located in Kenwood, the Sutherland Lounge has been the host of music legends such as Miles Davis. In 2011 the venue was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally a hotel, the venue was a center for the resurgence of jazz in the 1950s.
Two of Chicago's best live music venues that are still open, The Aragon Ballroom and The Metro have both been the host of dozens of famous performers such as Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, The Killers, Nirvana, and Green Day. The two venues remain popular destinations for musicians, and have a reputation for giving artists their start, akin Kanye West at The Metro.
As a major US city, Chicago’s music scene continues to flourish. Attracting and producing musical acts of every genre. Like its people, Chicago’s music is diverse, contributing to the city’s growing rich history. Whether is be festivals, new genre’s, or venues, Chicago is a music capital.