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Category: Event previews

A Free Outdoor Jazz Festival Swings The Doors Open In Hingetown

With its high blue skies, comfortable temperatures, clambakes and promises of a Super Bowl season for the Browns, it’s hard to imagine how September in Northeast Ohio could possibly be better—though a free outdoor jazz festival might be a nice start.

Wish granted. Make way for the inaugural Hingetown Jazz Festival Saturday, Sept. 2.

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Countdown: Your Planning Guide for Music August 24-31

It’s going to be a great weekend for music in NEO, but where to start? Countdown gets you ready with a roundup of some of the most notable music events that you might want to check out. Think of it as your every-Thursday planning guide to a weekend of music and good times.

George Benson, Friday, Aug. 25, 8 p.m., Cain Park, Cleveland Heights

Given his chart success as a vocalist, it’s easy to forget just how much jazz guitar George Benson can play when the spirit moves him. Whether that spirit will be with him at Cain Park is an open question. The smart money will be on a medley of hits with maybe one familiar burner to remind us all that the old man (Benson is 80) can bring the fire that lit up Pittsburgh’s Hill District six decades ago.

Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Friday, Aug. 25, 8 p.m., BOP STOP, Cleveland

All of a sudden, it seems like every musician on the Cleveland Scene is in the studio (watch for my forthcoming Street Date column at on just this topic). Friday it’s the turn of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, which will convene to record the music of one of its own, Chas Baker. The trombonist and director of the Kent State University Jazz Ensemble goes back a long way with this band, having been present at the creation of the ensemble in 1985. While we’re on the topic of time passing, it’s worth noting that the CJO has not recorded for five years, which makes Friday’s live date something of an event.

Sunny Tabler

Sunny Tabler’s Trap Jazz, Saturday, Aug. 25, 8 p.m., BLU Jazz+, Akron

What you make of the term trap jazz will likely depend on which side of 30 you find yourself on. My guess is that notwithstanding the issue of age, Sunny Tabler can have it both ways, being both a big-eared musician who is familiar with trap music and a practitioner of the trap set. That’s the seat from which Tabler will direct an ensemble of some of the region’s most accomplished jazzers: electrifying alto saxophonist Ronell Regis and trombonist Zach Warren on the front line with Theron Brown on piano, guitarist Jonah Ferguson and bassist Jordan McBride forming an A-list rhythm section.

1WAY @ THE GO FACTORY, Tuesday, August 29, 8 p.m., Go Factory, Cleveland

The last monthly 1Way presentation of the summer offers improv two ways. At 8 p.m. it’s WELL, a project that joins 1Way ringmaster Dan Wenninger with guitarist Evan Moran and Mat Weisman on drums. The publicity materials promise that they will “thread together composition and improvisation in a manner that balances structure with spontaneity and weight with constant motion,” which seems like a pretty good thesis statement for the entire 1Way project. At 9 p.m. or thereabouts, they give way to Black Island Condors, another trio comprising Vincenzino DiFranco (guitars), Alfredo Guerrieri (bass) and the wonderfully named drummer Mike Bashur.

I couldn’t live without Jim Szabo’s essential, weekly Northeast Ohio jazz calendar , NEO’s most complete list of jazz and jazz-adjacent events. If you haven’t visited it lately, what are you waiting for?

NOTE: This article was written by a real human being. No artificial intelligence or generative language models were used in its creation.

Red beans and ricely yours,
John Chacona


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On ‘Introspectiva,’ Guitarist Ricardo Morales Vivero Looks Inward and Outward

Ricardo Morales Vivero
photocredit: Alyssa Redd


Everywhere you listen these days, you’ll find young musicians from South America ripping it up. Bassist Jorge Roeder (Peru), the enchanting guitarist and vocalist Camila Meza (Chile), pianist Leo Genovese (Argentina) and way too many to mention from Brazil are among the most exciting examples. But try to name a jazz musician from Ecuador and you might come up empty.

Meet Ricardo Morales Vivero, a 28-year-old guitarist from Quito who will celebrate the release of his recording debut, Introspectiva (self-released), with a concert at BOP STOP Thursday.

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Countdown: Your Planning Guide for Music August 17-23

It’s going to be a great weekend for music in NEO, but where to start? Countdown gets you ready with a roundup of some of the most notable music events that you might want to check out. Think of it as your every-Thursday planning guide to a weekend of music and good times.


Keigo Hirakawa Trio, Thursday, Aug. 17, 7 p.m., BOP STOP, Cleveland

It would be convenient to describe Keigo Hirakawa as an academic who plays piano as a hobby, but after one listen to Dr. Hirakawa (he’s professor of electrical and computer engineering college at the University of Dayton) charge through postbop changes, it’s apparent that he could have gone pro in jazz. And he has with a new record, Pixel (Origin Records), that dropped in June. To celebrate the release, Hirakawa will rip it up with bassist Eddie Brookshire and drummer Reggie Jackson.

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Bring Back The Time: Jamey Haddad Plays The Music Of Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett Jamey Haddad
photocredits: Rose Ann Colavito ECM Records/Jackson Clark

Sometime in the mid-70s, percussionist Jamey Haddad was in a studio in Beachwood for a session that concluded a bit early, so he asked engineer Dale Peters (yup, the James Gang’s bassist) to keep the tape rolling while he played drums along with a record that he was particularly taken with. That record was The Köln Concert, the 1975 ECM double album that became bestselling piano album and solo recording in jazz history, and arguably vaulted its creator, Keith Jarrett, to jazz stardom.

Two generations later, Haddad has lost none of his love for Jarrett’s music and this weekend he will play it with a quartet of guitarist Jonah Ferguson, bassist Kip Reed and saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio at four venues in Northeast Ohio and Pittsburgh.

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