June 26, 2018

2018 Tri-C JazzFest Returns for 39th Year


Now in its 39th year, the Tri-C JazzFest has been a pivotal part of Cleveland's live music scene for nearly four decades. And, this year's fest, happening June 28-30, is shaping up to be one for the books.

The 2018 lineup features an assortment of established jazz greats alongside others who are just starting to make waves. In total, 13 acts will grace the indoor stages of Playhouse Square with their talents.

On top of that, there are two days of FREE live performances outside on the Straussman Insurance Stage, just feet from the GE Chandelier that hangs above East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue.

Check out some of the highlights ...

Common & Jose James

Common has amassed several accolades for his work as an actor and activist, but it was hip-hop that thrusted him into the limelight.

The Chicago native is credited with saying that hip-hop is the child of jazz culture, so it's not surprising that there's a large element of jazz throughout his musical repetoire. Additionally, Common recently formed the group August Greene with pianist Robert Glapser and drummer Karriem Riggins.

During Common's Tri-C JazzFest appearance, he'll be opened by Jose James. James will perform tunes from his latest project, "Lean On Me: Jose James Celebrates Bill Withers," which puts a unique spin on the legendary singer's music.

Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy is a fusion-influenced jam band that makes exploratory rock, funk and jazz. The group was formed by Michael League during his days in the University of North Texas Jazz Studies program. The ever-rotating group of musicians has a sound that is equally chilled out as it is danceable. The group has garnered three Grammy awards for their work.

Terence Blanchard

Acclaimed trumpeter, Terence Blanchard is JazzFest's current artist-in-residence. He even recorded some of his most recent "Live" album at the Bop Stop in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.

At Tri-C JazzFest, Blanchard is performing his "Jazz in Film" project alongside Dominick Farinacci's Spirit of the Groove Big Band. Expect to hear themes from movies like "Taxi Driver" and "Anatomy of a Murders," along with a few tunes from some of Spike Lee's films that have been scored by Blanchard himself.

Also performing will be young saxophonist Grace Kelly, who is already making waves of her own in the industry. She found herself playing at President Obama's inauguration when she was only 16 years old.

Dig Into the Rest of the Scene

Other acts slated to perform include organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, saxophonist Joshua Redman and his Still Dreaming quartet, the Smooth Jazz All-Stars, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Kirk Whalum with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra.

On top of the ticketed indoor performances, Tri-C JazzFest features 19 local and regional bands who'll rock, funk and jazz it up on the Strassman Insurance Stage. The list includes the likes of 3Divas, Acid Cats, Jul Big Green, Sammy DeLeon y su Orquesta and Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band.

Some of Tri-C JazzFest's artists also will take time to discuss the finer points of their music in the Chemical Bank Jazz Talk tent. Additionally, you're there'll be shopping and dining options throughout.

48-Hours for the Soul Music Lover

If your musical tastes run the gamet of genres from jazz and blues to neo-soul and R&B, then check out a great way to spend 48 hours in Cleveland here.

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