Past Event

Bridging Generations: From the Jazz Age to the Hip Hop Era with the Corey Wilkes Quartet and WBEZ's Richard Steele

Clip from the perfomance
Excerpt from the discussion


We are children of the hip-hop generation who play jazz” –Robert Glasper, jazz pianist

Depending on whom you ask, hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco’s performance at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival was either thrilling or underwhelming. Curiously, some wondered “Does this have anything to do with jazz?

Like them or not, hip hop and jazz have become an integral part of our cultural landscape. But what is the relationship between jazz and hip-hop today? What bridges can be made between the two cultural traditions? Even with the apparent creative influence of hip hop on today’s jazz, how does a person from each tradition view the other?

Join the Illinois Humanities Council and the Jazz Institute of Chicago for a performance by the Corey Wilkes quartet followed by an intergenerational panel discussion moderated by WBEZ’s Richard Steele, which will highlight the important linkages between jazz and hip hop.

The event is free and open to the public. However, registration is required and can be made online, via email, or by calling 312.422.5580.

About Corey Wilkes:
Internationally renowned local jazz trumpeter Corey Wilkes is an example of the creative influence of hip hop in today’s jazz. At 32 years of age, Corey Wilkes has already established a skill set and maturity to approach mainstream repertoire of jazz standards of someone twice his age, while concurrently having the ability to approach contemporary hip-hop from the perspective of an MC. Visit for more info on Corey Wilkes.
About the Panel:
Richard Steele is an award-winning host and correspondent for WBEZ Chicago Public Media, where he contributes interviews and reports to Eight Forty-Eight, The Afternoon Shift, World View, Morning Edition, All Things Considered,, and special programming. Since joining WBEZ in 1987, Richard has hosted a number of acclaimed programs over the years including The Richard Steele Show, A Richard Steele Friday, Page Two, Performance Space and Eight Forty-Eight.
Neil Tesser is adjunct lecturer at the UIC Department of Theater and Music. Tesser has written about and broadcast jazz in Chicago for over 40 years, in media such as The Chicago Reader, USA Today, NPR, and The New York Times. He has authored liner notes for more than 300 albums, receiving both a GRAMMY® nomination and the Jazz Journalists Association’s “Willis Conover Award” for excellence in broadcasting. He is known internationally for his work on the Chicago jazz scene, which he currently covers for the web site
TJ Crawford is a hip hop generation advocate, organizer and social entrepreneur who specializes in civic engagement, youth development and media literacy. Crawford has worked with organizations including the Chicago Hip Hop Civic Engagement Project, the Black Youth Project, Chicago Votes, Atlanta’s Youth Task Force, the Georgia Alliance for Children, and WVON radio. As a card carrying member of the Hip Hop generation, TJ uses hip hop as a tool for community empowerment in the class, in the club, on the block, and in the boardroom.
Katie Ernst is a young bassist, vocalist, and jazz educator. Katie manages the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Student Council, which gives high school music students opportunities to perform at venues including Millennium Park and the Chicago Jazz Festival. Katie also coordinates the Institute’s NextGenJazz program, which connects new audiences to emerging young jazz artists. Originally from Naperville, IL, Katie was one of 24 young artists recently selected to participate in the 2013 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.


We are pleased to partner with the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

This event is part of Bridging Divides, a series that draws on the humanities to help local communities address seemingly intractable social, cultural and political divides. The Bridging Divides series is made possible in part by the generous support of The Boeing Company and is part of the IHC’s Conversations on Contemporary Issues program.


If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event. For parking locations near the facility, please visit