Lineup announced for 41st annual Tri-C JazzFest

Lineup announced for 41st annual Tri-C JazzFest
File photo (Source: Tri-C)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) has announced the lineup of ticketed concerts for the 41st annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, presented by KeyBank, June 25-27 at Playhouse Square.

The 2020 festival features nine ticketed concerts in Playhouse Square’s historic theaters, with a lineup that recognizes both the roots of jazz and the forward thinkers in music today.

Festival highlights include a tribute to the late, great Charlie Parker; decades of soul from a cappella group Take 6; legendary blues guitarists John Mayall and Walter Trout; a showcase of world music; and a mix of bluegrass, roots, pop, rock, jazz and classical with Punch Brothers.

“Jazz encompasses a wide variety of music,” said Terri Pontremoli, director of Tri-C JazzFest. “We’re excited to showcase the spectrum. And don’t worry – there’s still lots of straight ahead and adventurous jazz to enjoy.”

Here is the concert lineup, with show times and locations:

Thursday, June 25

Take 6/Kirk Whalum — 7:45 p.m., KeyBank State Theatre

A capella group Take 6 — hailed as the “baddest vocal cats on the planet” — headlines opening night. The 10-time Grammy-winning sextet features Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley. Saxophonist Kirk Whalum kicks off the show with his soulful sound.

Friday, June 26

Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100 — 6 p.m., Ohio Theatre

Celebrate the centennial of famed jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker as an all-star cast channels the Yardbird. Performers include Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto sax), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Charenée Wade (vocals), Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), Kris Davis (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass) and Kassa Overall (DJ).

Angélique Kidjo/Spanish Harlem Orchestra — 7:45 p.m., KeyBank State Theatre

The striking voice and charismatic stage presence of three-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo prompted Time Magazine to call her “Africa’s premier diva.” Her performance will follow the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, a two-time Grammy-winning band that sets the standard for New York-style, hardcore salsa.

John Mayall and Walter Trout: Survivor Tour — 10:15 p.m., Allen Theatre

Known as “The Godfather of British Blues,” John Mayall takes the stage with a musical resume spanning a half-century. Touring with Mayall and co-headlining the show is New Jersey-born blues rocker Walter Trout, a prolific artist with an eclectic discography.

Saturday, June 27

Julian Lage/Emmet Cohen — 1 p.m., Ohio Theatre

Impeccable technique defines the transformative performances of guitarist Julian Lage, who tangles the roots of jazz, folk classical and country music. Dynamic jazz pianist Emmet Cohen starts things off with a performance guaranteed to communicate the deepest levels of humanity and individuality.

Karriem Riggins/Joel Ross — 3:30 p.m., Allen Theatre

Drummer and 2020 Tri-C JazzFest artist-in-residence Karriem Riggins blurs the lines between the jazz and hip-hop scenes while bringing the two genres together. Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based vibraphonist Joel Ross opens the show with his innovative and reliably revolutionary combo.

Charles Lloyd — 6 p.m., Allen Theatre

Six decades after his professional debut, the critical consensus is that saxophonist Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. His concerts and recordings are events of pristine beauty and elegance, full of emotion and passion that touch deep inside the heart.

Punch Brothers — 7:45 p.m., KeyBank State Theatre

Bluegrass takes a progressive step forward with the enthusiastic and experimental approach of Punch Brothers, a quintet featuring Chris Thile (mandolin/vocals), Gabe Witcher (fiddle/violin), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge (guitar) and Paul Kowert (bass).

Cha Wa — 10:15 p.m., Allen Theatre

The fiery energy of New Orleans street culture resonates from the funk-laced beats of Cha Wa, a Mardi Gras Indian band that puts a modern twist on the city’s traditional brass band sound.

Festival passes — which offer VIP seating to all nine ticketed concerts, plus other perks — are now on sale for $275. Visit to purchase a pass.

Individual tickets will go on sale April 1 through the Playhouse Square Box Office.

The 2020 JazzFest will also include free outdoor concerts on the plaza at Playhouse Square from 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday on festival weekend. The popular performances feature local and regional talent selected by a jury of music industry experts.

The festival draws tens of thousands of people downtown for the three-day experience. For a full roster of Tri-C JazzFest events — including free community concerts in the months leading up to the festival — visit

The 41st annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland is presented by KeyBank and made possible by Cuyahoga Community College, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Strassman Insurance Services Inc. and a growing list of donors and vendors.

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