In 2000, Englewood resident, composer, bandleader, and internationally renowned artist, Ernest “Khabeer” Dawkins created The Englewood Jazz Festival to highlight the rich cultural heritage of Englewood and to work with other organizations to increase Englewood’s own musical resources. His vision and determination has kept the Festival alive and growing for over a decade. Dawkins originated the festival as part of a three-year Meet the Composer/New Residency grant to promote the creation of new work by emerging composers, to provide music instruction and other activities for youth and residents at four neighborhood parks, and to develop Live the Spirit, the festival’s resident big band. Dawkins also founded Live The Spirit Residency, a not-for-profit organization that officially became recognized as a 501c(3) organization in the state of Illinois in 2006. Live The Spirit Residency produces the Englewood Jazz Festival and Dawkins is the Artistic Director for the organization and the Festival.