What You Need to Know About Tri-C's Annual JazzFest


  • Courtesy of Tri-C
Now in its 39th year, Tri-C’s annual JazzFest features another eclectic line-up of acts that could loosely be called “jazz.”

The event kicks off on Thursday night with a performance by Grammy-winning sax man Kirk Whalum, who joins Grammy-winning singer Dee Dee Bridgewater for a “Memphis-inspired” performance. Whalum co-produced Bridgewater’s latest album, Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready, which she will perform at the festival. Expect to hear covers of songs by Otis Redding, Elvis Presley and Al Green. That show begins at 7:30 at the KeyBank State Theatre. The all-female big band DIVA will open the evening with a "wall of sound," mixing standard big band repertoire and original creations.

The festival continues on Friday when Joshua Redman performs at 6 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre, the Smooth Jazz Allstars and Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles play at 7:30 p.m. at the KeyBank State Theatre and B-3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith performs at 10:15 at the Allen Theatre.

On Saturday, Brazil’s Vinicius Cantuaria plays at 1 p.m. at the Hanna Theatre, Terence Blanchard, the Spirit of the Groove Band and Grace Kelly team up to play a show that takes place at 3:30 p.m. at the Allen Theatre, Snarky Puppy performs at 6 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre and rapper Common and soul singer José James perform at 8 p.m. at KeyBank State Theatre

JazzFest will also include free outdoor concerts at Playhouse Square from 3 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Those performances will feature local and regional musicians who've been selected by a jury of music industry experts.

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