Cuyahoga Community College Presents Three New Reasons to Love JazzFest

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What’s new to get excited about at the 34th annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland? A party, a hero and the sounds of a gorgeous big band.


Cuyahoga Community College celebrates the start of the 34th annual festival (April 19-27) with “We’re Gonna Have a Funky Good Time,” the festival’s first FREE opening night party from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 19, in the State Theatre Lobby.


There will be some great Detroit funk with Nadir & Distorted Soul along with food and happy hour prices on drinks, including brew by party sponsor Great Lakes Brewing Co. Visitors can win free JazzFest tickets and merchandise.


This year, Tri-C JazzFest is creating more of a festival vibe –not only through multiple concerts at PlayhouseSquare, but cool activities in the State Theatre lobby.On Saturday, April 20, fans can enjoy Robert Glasper’s concert in the Ohio Theatre, then go to the State lobby for the DownBeat Blindfold Test with saxophonist Javon Jackson.The iconic Blindfold Test is a monthly feature of DownBeat magazine. It’s a don’t-miss experience on the rare occasion that fans can seeit live. And there are other “meetthe artist” sessions and student performances planned for both Saturdays, plus a birthday celebration for Joe Lovano on April 27, all in the lobby.


BREAKING NEWS – We’ve just added the L.A.-based Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra to the bill when headliner Natalie Cole performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the State Theatre. One of the best big bands in the world, the CHJO hasn’t performed in Cleveland since 2004.


Founded in 1985 by John Clayton (bass), his brother Jeff (sax) and Jeff Hamilton (drums), the big band gained almost immediate acclaim. It was the house band at the Hollywood Bowl during the 1999-2001season, and has recorded with John Pizzarelli, Gladys Knight and Diana Krall.


While we’re at it, we’ll take time to honor promoter Jim Wadsworth, named a 2013 Jazz Hero by the national Jazz Journalists Association for his work in introducing Northeast Ohio music lovers to new and established jazz masters, showcasing Northeast Ohio musicians and keeping the jazz “burning” throughout the year. He is the founder of Jim Wadsworth Productions and the music producer at Nighttown in Cleveland Heights.


Wadsworth and NIghttown have a long and happy relationship with Tri-C JazzFest, and are co-presenting tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson in  “Dex @ 90,” a special concert dedicated to jazz great Dexter Gordon, at 7 and 9 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Nighttown.  Dexter’s widow, Maxine Gordon, will be on hand for a pre-concert talk.


Tickets are still available for the 34th annual Tri-C JazzFest April 19-27, which takes place at the theaters of PlayhouseSquare and the Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus Auditorium.Call the PlayhouseSquare box office at 216-241-6000 or visit our website,


The festival is made possible by Cuyahoga Community College, American Greetings, NewsChannel5, KeyBank, the Ohio Arts Council,the National Endowment for the Arts, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Dominion Resources, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Great Lakes Brewing Co., Strassman Insurance and the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection.


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