Springfield Jazz Festival

Saturday, September 23, 2023
Park Central Area stages are FREE!

The 12th annual Springfield Jazz Festival will again be on two downtown stages: Local & Regional Stage at Park Central East and Collegiate Stage at Park Central Square.

Signature Concert at the Gillioz: The Headhunters

Get your Headhunters tickets online now!

Few bands can claim a history as remarkable and illustrious as The Headhunters. Originating in 1973 under the visionary leadership of renowned musician Herbie Hancock, the band quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with. Comprising percussionist Bill Summers, bassist Paul Jackson, saxophonist Bennie Maupin and Harvey Mason, who was soon replaced by legendary drummer Mike Clark, each member brought their unique talents to the table, forging a timeless legacy that surpasses the dreams of most musical ensembles. By blending jazz, funk, and rock, The Headhunters created a sound that resonated with audiences worldwide, selling over a million albums and inspiring musicians across genres for generations. Their music was even sampled by hundreds of hip-hop artists throughout the '80s and '90s, leaving an indelible mark on contemporary music.

Today, The Headhunters' impact remains a global phenomenon, with their time alongside Hancock serving as a transformative experience. The band went on to release six more full-length albums. They ventured out on their own, free from Hancock's involvement, producing standout albums such as "Survival of the Fittest" in 1975 and "Straight from the Gate" in 1977. The band reunited with Herbie in 1998 for “Return of The Headhunters” and subsequent released albums “Evolution Revolution” in 2003 and “Platinum” in 2011. The Headhunters’ latest studio release “Speakers In The House” came out November 4th, 2022 to international acclaim through Ropeadope Records in association with Devil Hills Entertainment.

Headhunters Album Cover

Park Central East Stage - Across from The Gillioz

  • 1:00 p.m. - MOJO Lite
  • 2:00 p.m. - Arthur Duncan
  • 3:00 p.m. - JJ Jamison Quartet
  • 4:00 p.m. - Missouri Jazz Orchestra (MOJO)
  • 5:00 p.m. - Steve Bach Quartet
  • 6:00 p.m. - Price/Trantham/Beach Quartet
  • 7:00 p.m. - Hamm/Aho/Bohrisch/Morrison
  • 8:00 p.m. - The Legendary Bobby Watson Quartet

Park Central Square Pavillion Stage

  • 1:00 p.m. - MSU Jazz Symposium
  • 2:00 p.m. - Matt Harp: solo guitar
  • 3:00 p.m. - Drury University Jazz Band


  • Systematic Savings Bank - gold level
  • Wil Fischer - gold level
  • City of Springfield - gold level
  • Downtown Springfield Association
  • Springfield Regional Arts Council
  • MSU Jazz Studies
  • Ernie Williamson Music
  • Multicultural Business Association
annual Springfield jazz festival poster

Gallery of Previous Festivals