This past July 10th through July 12th, I spent a weekend in Cleveland for the fourth consecutive year to take in the always well-presented Tri-C (Cuyahoga Community College) Jazz Festival. Tri-C Jazz Fest Director Terri Pontremoli, 90.3-FM WCPN IdeaStream, Key Bank, the Gund Foundation , the Ohio Arts Council and many others collaborated to bring a dazzling roster of world renowned artists to multiple theatre stages in Playhouse Square, the “lively arts” heart of Cleveland.
Bassist/composer John Clayton was this year’s Tri-C Jazz Fest artist -in-residence. Clayton was in fine form, delivering stunning performances both with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which kicked off the festival with Take 6 on Thursday evening, and with a trio and quartet featuring his alto-sax playing brother Jeff Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and the mesmerizing pianist, Benny Green. Other standout performances included a concert by “Creole Joe” a zydeco/jazz band featuring C.J. Chenier and Ray Parker, Jr. and led by bassist Nick Sample (the son of the late Joe Sample). Other sizzling sets were delivered by smooth jazz-funk pianist Brian Culbertson, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and Pete Escovedo & his Latin Jazz Orchestra, which included his children Juan Escovedo and Shelia Escovedo, better known as Sheila E.
The Tri-C Jazz Fest is a fabulous feast for the eyes and ears of anyone who loves this music. The top-tier jazz artists adore Terri Pontremoli because she is also a musician and treats her peers with generosity and respect. Therefore, you can bet on Terri and the Tri-C team assembling another exciting slate of performers for next year’s jazz fest. Mark your calendars now to attend it in late June 2016.
Keep holding the jazz torch high, true believers!