his year marks the 37th for Tri-C JazzFest, presented by KeyBank. Over that time, the festival has seen its share of luminary performers, from Miles Davis to Aretha Franklin, from Ella Fitzgerald to Dave Brubeck. This year is no exception. Look for Diana Krall, Dr. John, Leon Russell and Chick Corea, among many others, on the stages of Playhouse Square. Combine that with performances by local musicians on the outdoor Strassman Insurance Services Stage, food and family-friendly activities, and you have one of Northeast Ohio’s premier summer destinations. Get your tickets and passes while you still can!
37th annual festival offers nine ticketed concerts June 23-25
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) has announced that individual tickets will go on saleApril 8 for the full lineup of power-packed shows at this year’s Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, presented by KeyBank.
The 37th annual Tri-C JazzFest will be held June 23-25 at Playhouse Square, with nine ticketed concerts inside the theater district’s historic venues. Musical offerings range from traditional jazz to sounds grounded in urban funk, blues and Latin flair.
The shows promise to build on the energy created at last year’s festival, which brought more than 28,000 people to Euclid Avenue at East 14th Street.
“That number says it all: Tri-C JazzFest has grown into a true downtown destination for music fans,” said Terri Pontremoli, the festival’s director. “Whatever your taste, there’s a must-see show in the lineup.”
Concerts, show times, locations and ticketing information is as follows:
Thursday, June 23
Tommy LiPuma’s Big Birthday Bash — 7:30 p.m., Connor Palace, $125/$95/$75/$45
Legendary music producer Tommy LiPuma, a Cleveland native, will celebrate his 80th birthday with performances from acclaimed artists whose careers he helped shape. Taking the stage will be Diana Krall, Al Jarreau, Dr. John and Leon Russell. The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra will back the all-star lineup. Look for special guest appearances, too.
Friday, June 24
Chick Corea — 6 p.m., Ohio Theatre, $60/$50/$32
Pianist Chick Corea is the fourth-most-nominated artist in Grammy Award history with 63 nominations and 22 wins. He has performed with Miles Davis, Bela Fleck, Herbie Hancock and others in a celebrated career spanning half a century.
David Sanborn/Maceo Parker — 8 p.m., Connor Palace, $60/$50/$30
Saxophone players David Sanborn and Maceo Parker bring notable pedigree to the stage they’ll share. Sanborn is a six-time Grammy winner, while Parker helped shape the history of funk through collaborations with James Brown, George Clinton and Prince.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation — 10:15 p.m., Outcalt Theatre, $25
The funk force that is Big Sam’s Funky Nation is led by trombonist Big Sam Williams, who refuses to let the audience sit still. That’s why this show is in the Outcalt Theatre, where dancing is not only allowed; it’s encouraged.
Saturday, June 25
Melissa Aldana/Somi — 1 p.m., Hanna Theatre, $25
At age 24, Melissa Aldana became the first female instrumentalist to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Often referred to as a modern-day Miriam Makeba, JazzTimes magazine describes Somi’s live performance as “the earthy gutsiness of Nina Simone blended with the vocal beauty of Dianne Reeves.”
Terence Blanchard’s E-Collective — 3 p.m., Ohio Theatre, $32/$25
Trumpeter Terence Blanchard has scored more than 50 soundtracks and recorded more than 30 albums, covering everything from traditional acoustic jazz to Champion: An Opera in Jazz. With the E-Collective, he makes his first foray into straight groove-land. Blanchard is also the JazzFest artist-in-residence for 2016-17.
Dominick Farinacci album release concert — 4:45 p.m., Hanna Theatre, $32
Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, a former Tri-C music student, returned to campus last year with LiPuma and a star-studded group of musicians to record his newest album, Short Stories. Celebrate the album’s release by Mack Avenue Records and hear the music that will soon have the jazz world buzzing.
Lalah Hathaway, BWB and Brian Culbertson — 7:15 p.m., Connor Palace, $75/$65.50/$55/$35
This “Contemporary Jazz Extravaganza” features three acts. Vocalist Lalah Hathaway is the two-time Grammy-winning daughter of soul singer Donny Hathaway. Established solo artists Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown form BWB, a group whose groove defines contemporary jazz. Brian Culbertson is a funk, R&B and jazz musician who has released more than 15 albums.
¡Cubanismo! — 10:30 p.m., Outcalt Theatre, $30
Dancing is encouraged at this performance by ¡Cubanismo!, an Afro-Cuban jazz band led by Jesús Alemañy. The band’s powerful percussion section is uniquely and authentically Cuban.
Individual tickets will be available through the Playhouse Square Box Office at 216-241-6000
Festival passes — which offer VIP seating to all nine ticketed concerts, plus other perks — are also available. Cost is $250. Call 216-640-8800 or visit www.tri-cjazzfest.com to purchase.
Tri-C JazzFest is made possible by Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Strassman Insurance Services Inc. and a growing list of donors and members.
Eighteen bands will play on two outdoor stages at this summer’s hottest downtown music festival, the 37th annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, presented by KeyBank.
“The streets at Playhouse Square will feature wall-to-wall music for nearly 24 hours over two days,” said Terri Pontremoli, festival director. “I know the dance floor under the chandelier will be jumping.”
The free performances will take place between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, at U.S. Bank Plaza at Playhouse Square. The artists will play on the Scene Stage and Strassman Insurance Stage.
Festival organizers expanded the number of performers and hours of music this year. A jury of music industry experts considered a variety of genres while vetting more than 100 bands.
Look for the following acts on the stages, listed by day of performance. A full schedule with performance times will be posted on the JazzFest page closer to the event.
Friday, June 24
TCJF SoundWorks: Founded by Tri-C JazzFest in 2009, this collective of Northeast Ohio musicians reimagine the jazz of our time. This year they celebrate the music of Chick Corea.
International Orange: From the slide guitar of the American South to the rhythms of India, Africa and Brazil, the band marries a jazz sensibility to innovative, funky originals.
Witness Protection: The band is an eclectic, acoustic trio that plays memorable cover tunes audiences aren’t sick of hearing.
One World Tribe: Considered by many critics to be one of North America’s premier world music groups, the band combines world music with funk and jazz that makes dancing a must.
Blue Lunch: This band of eight is a blues/jump/swing band with tight horn arrangements.
Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band: The 19-piece group and its legendary front man have a well-earned reputation as one of the region’s hardest-swinging big bands.
Red Light Roxy: With veteran musicians from Cleveland’s jazz scene, the band plays a mix of swing, jump blues and boogie-woogie that makes it a favorite among the swing dancing scene.
Wesley Bright: This Akron performer brings freshness to the timeless R&B sound of the ‘60s.
Saturday, June 25
Paul VornHagen Quartet: The quartet led by Paul VornHagen — a saxophonist, flutist and vocalist — has been a fixture on the Detroit-area jazz scene for more than two decades.
Sam Blakeslee Quintet: The experienced group led by trombonist and composer Sam Blakeslee recently toured the Midwest and plans to record its debut album in the fall.
Bluelight: Vocalist and keyboardist Phil Anderson sets the tone for this Akron-based experimental quintet, which has strong roots roots in jazz, R&B and hip hop.
Moises Borges Brazilian Jazz: This Brazilian-born guitarist and singer brings the real deal samba and bossa nova from his native land to Cleveland.
Tribe of Eli: Cleveland-based drummer Elijah Gilmore — who leads this funky jazz group — has toured and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in jazz.
Forecast: This Cleveland-based contemporary jazz band celebrates its 35th anniversary with a blend of instrumental jazz, funk, rock, reggae and pop.
Humbly Submitted: The artists in this gospel group have spent more than 20 years composing and arranging music that speaks directly to the souls of listeners.
The Admirables: This soul band is fronted by alto saxophonist Nathan Paul Davis, who engages the crowd like a southern Baptist preacher and gets them up on their feet.
Funkyard X: The band’s groove-loaded performances feature powerful horns and a mighty rhythm section.
Sammy DeLeon y su Orquesta: Percussionist Sammy DeLeon — recipient of the 2016 Cleveland Jazz Legend Award — has performed with some of the world’s greatest Latin musicians and promises to rock the stage with his bandmates.
In addition to the outdoor performances, JazzFest features nine ticketed concerts over three days — June 23-25 — inside Playhouse Square’s historic venues. A full festival schedule can be found here.
Tickets for the indoor shows are available through the Playhouse Square Box Office at 216-241-6000.
Other festival activities include the KidBop children’s tent with crafts, balloons, face painting and appearances by jazz musicians; cooking demonstrations by local chefs and Tri-C culinary instructors; food trucks; and a Saturday morning yoga session.
A special event — Keyed Up for JazzFest – will kick off the first full day of activities on Friday, June 24, with the festivities beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Last year’s festival brought more than 28,000 people downtown.
Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland is presented by KeyBank and made possible by Cuyahoga Community College, the National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council and a growing list of donors and members.
The outdoor musical showcase is made possible in part by the George Gund Foundation. Special thanks to Strassman Insurance Services and the Cleveland Federation of Musicians.