Attention Swifties: ya girl is coming to Cleveland tonight. No, it’s not a previously unannounced stop on the Eras Tour, but you wouldn’t expect to find that kind of scoop in this column, would you? The Swift in question is Veronica, who kicks off a late-September clambake of jazz and adjacent musical revelry this week, one that could launch a million crossover dreams.
It could just be a case of wishful thinking, but the terrific things I’m hearing about this past weekend’s inaugural Hingetown Jazz Festival show what can happen when top-flight musicians, welcoming venues and tireless, community-minded organizers come together to meet audiences where they are. Who wouldn’t be stoked for the future?
And you won’t have to wait to get a glimpse of what that future might look like, because this weekend brings Akron’s annual Rubber City Jazz and Blues Festival Sept. 7-9.
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.
Friday, August 11, 7:30 p.m.
Kent Stage, 175 E. Main St., Kent (tickets)
Are they jazz? After 49 years, it’s kind of a moot point. OG saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and his bubbly, rhythm-happy crew have making heads nod and feet pat for a lot of folks–probably more than a few hardcore jazz stans among them. This summertime music should fill the house at Kent Stage.
The response to last week’s Trading Fours post was so positive that I’ll make it a weekly feature on Thursdays. Think of it as your planning guide to a weekend of music and good times.
The Rumble, Thursday, August 3 , 8 p.m., Beachland Ballroom
Fat Tuesday may be six months in the future, but it’s never too early to get your second line strut on, especially when New Orleans funk krewe The Rumble rolls into the Beachland Ballroom. Led by Second Chief Joseph Boudreaux, Jr. of the Golden Eagles (son of Big Chief Monk), this seven-man party machine has the pedigree to turn Collinwood into the Quarter, if only for a night. Crazy Marvin & the Blues Express opens.