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South Shore JazzFest may be saved

Howard Reich

5:24 PM EDT, June 22, 2012

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Earlier this month, Chicago impresario Geraldine de Haas announced that her South ShoreJazzFest -- which has played the South Shore Cultural Center annually since 1981 -- would be canceled.

But a groundswell of support has revived hopes the event will take place as previously planned, Aug. 4 and 5 at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

"Everybody in this community has looked forward to this event every year, and they would not let it die,” said de Haas, president of non-profit Jazz Unites, Inc.

Several major Chicago cultural figures have been working on rescuing the event, among them Dr. Carol Adams, president and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History.

"We have organized – there are a lot of jazz lovers in South Shore," said Adams. "We thought it would be a travesty to let this happen, and also to not celebrate Geraldine.

"We have come together, and we are organizing, and we are going to do the festival. We’re confirming the acts. We’ve got institutions in the neighborhood that are putting resources together.

"Local musicians started contacting me saying, 'We'll perform for free.'"

Though details are still being worked out, Adams said the event will be renamed “South Shore Jazz Lives ... Because Jazz Unites.”

Contracts have yet to be signed, but a Chicago Park District representative confirmed that plans are progressing.

"We are working with (festival planners) to see if they can come back to the South Shore Cultural Center on Aug. 4 and 5,” said spokeswoman Marta Juaniza.

"And they’re working on getting their special event application in to us."

hreich@tribune.com

Twitter @howardreich