The 39th Annual Tri-C JazzFest

The 39th annual Tri-C JazzFest, presented by KeyBank will take place June 28 – 30, 2018 at Playhouse Square. This year we’re showcasing thirteen acts made up of jazz icons with decades of hits, artists at the pinnacle of their craft and emerging talent just beginning to etch their names in the industry.

Check out our indoor lineup and start planning your JazzFest weekend. Single tickets are on sale now! You can also purchase a festival pass (and save $150+) or become a member today. Jazz Lives Here!

Listen to the 2018 JazzFest Indoor Lineup

Indoor Lineup

Be sure to ‘like/follow’ Tri-C JazzFest on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date info!

GIVEAWAY: Win Two Tickets To The 37th Annual Tri-C JazzFest! + Giveaway

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

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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 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.

Tri-C JazzFest Outdoor Stage“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.


The Tri-C JazzFest Returns June 26-28th With An All-New Format! Plus, ENTER TO WIN TWO TICKETS!!


Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a big move from April to June 2014, presenting three jam-packed days of concerts in the theaters of PlayhouseSquare plus free music outside on Star Plaza.

Twelve ticketed shows and a host of free outdoor events will be featured June 26-28, 2014 in what JazzFest Director Terri Pontremoli says is an exciting change for loyal JazzFest audiences and a fresh opportunity for new ones.  “With a growing population downtown, and so much appetite for new experiences in the city, it’s the perfect time to introduce people to this wonderful musical experience with deep roots in Cleveland,” Pontremoli says.

This year’s lineup will feature three great bassists, two big bands, two groups led by women, Brazilian music, Latin music and a few surprises.  The lineup includes:

·       SeanJones Sean Jones on Thursday, June 26 at the Ohio Theatre (7:00pm)

·        TromboneShortyJohnScofield John Scofield and Trombone Shorty on Friday, June 27 at the Palace Theatre (7:15pm)

·       Eddie-Palmieri Eddie Palmieri on Friday, June 27 at the Ohio Theatre (9:30pm)

·         Jamey-Haddad Jamey Haddad on Saturday, June 28 at the Hanna Theatre (1:30pm)

·        ErnieKrivda Ernie Krivda Fat Tuesday Big Band on Saturday, June 28 at the Ohio Theatre (2:45pm)

·         Eliane_Elias Eliane Elias on Saturday, June 28 at the Hanna Theatre (4:00pm)

·        terri-lyne-carrington Terri Lyne Carrington on Saturday, June 28 at the Ohio Theatre (5:15pm)

·       Christian-McBride2 Christian McBride on Saturday, June 28 at the Ohio Theatre (6:45pm)

·         Raul_Midon Raul Midon on Saturday, June 28 at the Hanna Theatre (7:30pm)

·         MillerKoz Marcus Miller and Dave Koz on Saturday, June 28 at the Palace Theatre (8:00pm)

·        dave-holland Dave Holland Prism on Saturday, June 28 at the Ohio Theatre (10:00pm)


In addition to the music, there will be meet-the-artist sessions and jazz talks in the State Theatre lobby.

Outdoors on Star Plaza, fans and casual listeners will be able to enjoy hours of free concerts beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28.  

The outdoor lineup includes:

Friday, June 27, 2014
3:00 PM     Tri-C JazzFest Summer Camp musicians
4:15 PM     Cleveland School of the Arts JazzArts Ensemble
5:00 PM     Backstage Politics
5:45 PM     JazzFest 2nd Line with Parade the Circle puppets
6:15 PM     Alan Greene Blues Band
7:30 PM     Second Nature with Dan Wilson
8:45 PM     Broccoli Samurai
10:15 PM   Sammy DeLeon y su Orquesta

Saturday, June 28, 2014
3:00 PM     Lafayette Carthon & Faith
4:15 PM     Bethesda
5:15 PM     Samba Joia (in front of Hanna Theatre)
5:30 PM     Horns & Things
6:30 PM     Samba Joia (in front of Hanna Theatre)
6:45 PM     Blue Monsoon
8:00 PM     Dominick Farinacci
9:15 PM     Red Light Roxy
10:30 PM   Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites

Band descriptions

Blu Monsoon – One of the freshest, jazz-influenced bands in Ohio, Blu Monsoon plays only the coolest pop covers and classics in addition to original music. With Mike Schirch (keys), Adam Hradisky (drums or cajon), Donald Pelc (guitar), Jeff Jeric (Bass).

Bethesda – Described as “indie-approved, Americana-hipster hootenanny,” this Kent band has performed at Bonnaroo and South x Southwest. With Shanna Delaney (vocals), Eric Ling (guitar/vocals), Christopher Black (violin/keys), Jesse Scaggs (guitar/banjo),  Dan Corby (bass), and Justin Rife (drums).

Alan Greene Blues Band – frequently voted Cleveland’s best blues guitarist in Scene Magazine, Alan Greene has kept a rocking blues band together for three decades. With Tom Odegard (vocals), Rob Luoma (drums), and Justin Butcher (bass).

Sammy DeLeon y su Orquesta – For the past decade, this band has played a broad spectrum of Latin dance music and gained a multi-cultural audience in the tri-state area. With Sammy Deleon (timbales,vocals), Nelson Orta (congas, bongos), Jackie Warren (piano), Elmer Arocho (bass), Dick Ingersoll (saxophone), Manny Santana (trombone), Scott McKee (trumpet), Joe Miller (lead trumpet), Noel Colon (vocals), Marilyn Rodriquez (vocals), and Jose Hernandez (vocals).

Dominick Farinacci – JazzFest welcomes back the recently named Global Ambasssador of Jazz @Lincoln Center. In that capacity, Farinacci has been curating world music and jazz presentations at Jazz @Lincoln Center Doha, and creating education and outreach programs.

Red Light Roxy – Named after the famed burlesque house on Short Vincent Ave., this band specializes in vintage dance music from swing to jump blues and R&B.  With Eileen Burns (vocals), Joe Hunter (piano), Paul Samuels (drums), Dave Sterner (sax) Demetrius Steinmetz (bass) and Daris Adkins (guitarist).

Broccoli Samurai – Cleveland’s premiere “jamtronica” band, with Ryan Hodson (keys), Chris Walker (drums), Steve Fade (bass) and John McCarron (guitar).  The band has performed at Rootwire, The Werk Out, Hyperion Fest, Summerdance and The Mad Tea Party Jam.

Horns & Things – For more than 20 years, Horns & Things has been the powerhouse contemporary jazz ensemble in Northeast Ohio Ohio.  With J.T. Lynch (sax), Ken LeeGrand (sax), Derrick James (bass), Sakait Baksar (keys) and Ray Harvin (drums).

Lafayette Carthon & Faith – Pianist Carthon’s gospel career was launched at the age of 18
with the Winans. A teacher and gospel performer, he also is one of the premier jazz pianists in the area.  With Phillip Jones (organ), Joe Eff (keyboards), Alan Curry (bass), Monica Carter (drums), Alfonso Williams (guitar), and vocalists Andrenee Priest, Shavonn Lee, Sheryse Henderson, Maria Jacobs, Randall Priest, Jon Henderson.

Second Nature — The elements of Dan Wilson’s upbringing can be heard throughout his music – from the gospel music at his church, to his discovery of Wes Montgomery, Soul and Brazilian music. Wilson fronts a supreme trio here with Cliff Barnes (B-3) and Dave Throckmorton (drums).

Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites – A honey-voiced frontman backs this seven-piece Northern Soul group with a horn section straight out of the 1960s. Clad in sharp suits, this group keeps everyone dancing.  With Nick Fritsch (drums), Bob Basone (bass), Brent Wesley (vocals), Albert Santilli III (keys), Jimmy Parsons (guitar), Max Brady (trombone), Nathan-Paul Davis (saxophone) and Matt Garrett (trumpet).

Backstage Politics – Winner of the 2014 Tri-C High School Rock Off, Backstage Politics is made up of students from the School of Rock.


Attendees can expect to hear from a variety of local and national artists with genres ranging from R&B, Latin, Gospel, Reggae and – of course – Jazz. Festival goers can also enjoy several food trucks that will be on site for the weekend, including: Donut Lab, Beckham’s B & M Barbque, Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream, and Hodge Podge. In addition, Great Lakes Brewing Company will be present serving up craft beers for the occasion.

JazzFest this year also introduces its first all-festival pass — a component  JazzFest regulars have asked for in recent years. Pass-holders receive a preferred-seat ticket for each of nine concerts of their choosing, plus walk-up admission to the remaining three shows.


“We want audiences to have fun and just immerse themselves,” Pontremoli said. “They may have a couple of favorite acts in mind, but the pass makes it easy for them to move freely, and explore music they may know less about, all while enjoying the theater district during the best days of summer.”

The pass has a face value of $445. To purchase, visit or call 216-987-4049.

Individual concert tickets are currently on sale.


Along with a growing collaboration with PlayhouseSquare,Tri-C  JazzFest will partner with Nighttown in Cleveland Heights, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Karamu House and Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood for events throughout the year.

This is the 35th consecutive year that Cuyahoga Community College has presented the festival, which has usually been in April. Founded by Dr. Thom Horning and Reginald Bruckner, JazzFest was begun with the intention of fostering the history and nurturing the future of jazz, providing educational opportunities, and bringing world-class jazz to Cleveland.

Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland is made possible through support from Cuyahoga Community College, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Ohio Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a growing list of members and sponsors.