Lineup and Passes
The two-day outdoor festival featured 10 acts in Cain Park’s covered Evans Amphitheater, with a lineup that celebrated both the roots of jazz and the forward-thinkers in the genre today.
2021 Tri-C JazzFest highlights included Brazilian music with unique duo Harp vs Harp; extraordinary piano trios led by Christian Sands and Emmet Cohen; vocalists ranging from a 21-year-old recent Sarah Vaughan Competition winner to veteran Grammy Award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell; three thrilling horn players; and the explosive salsa of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
In addition to the main stage lineup, festival-goers enjoyed student performances inside the Strassman Insurance Services Colonnade, vendors, food trucks, street performers, Jazz Talk Tent with artist interviews and discussions, and free U.S. Bank Kids Club outside the venue at the playground.
Learn more about the artists below and check back next year for 2022 festival information.
Samara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio
With a voice as smooth as velvet, 21-year-old Samara Joy’s star seems to rise with each performance. Winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Joy is currently recording her debut record featuring Pasquale Grasso Trio. Performing with Joy is Pasquale Grasso (guitar), Ari Roland (bass) and Keith Balla (drums).Check out Samara Joy
Lakecia Benjamin and Pursuance
A charismatic and dynamic saxophonist and bandleader, Lakecia Benjamin fuses traditional conceptions of jazz, hip-hop and soul. Her latest album, Pursuance, was chosen by DownBeat Magazine as one of the Top 20 best albums of 2020. It’s an intergenerational masterpiece that takes one on a journey through the lineage of music with the works of John and Alice Coltrane. Her JazzFest performance features Zaccai Curtis (piano), Lonnie Plaxico (bass) and EJ Strickland (drums).Check out Lakecia Benjamin
Christian Sands Trio
Steinway artist and five-time Grammy nominee Christian Sands is an emerging jazz force. His abundant piano technique perfectly matches his conception, accomplishing a much deeper musical goal: a fresh look at the entire language of jazz. Performing with Sands is Alex Claffy (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums).Check out Christian Sands
A Moment In Cleveland
The performance of A Moment in Cleveland will be an intergenerational celebration of Cleveland jazz talent featuring Dominick Farinacci (trumpet/bandleader), Ernie Krivda (saxophone), Steve Enos (trumpet), Lafayette Carthon (piano), Jerome Jennings (drums), Jamey Haddad (percussion), Joe Hunter (piano), Evelyn Wright (vocals), Walter Barnes (electric bass), Gabe Jones (drums), Chris Coles (saxophone), Jackie Warren (piano), Bryan Thomas (upright bass) and Orlando Watson (spoken word). This concert is sponsored by The Roy Minoff Family Fund.Check out Dominick Farinacci
Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Three-time Grammy-winning salsa and Latin jazz band Spanish Harlem Orchestra sets the gold standard for excellence in authentic, New York-style hardcore salsa. Whether in a concert hall or at an outdoor jazz festival, there is no easing you in — they come at you full force, from start to finish. Band members include: Oscar Hernandez (piano/leader), Marco Bermudez (vocals), Carlos Cascante (vocals), Jeremy Bosch (vocals), Manuel Ruiz (trumpet), Alex Norris (trumpet), Doug Beavers (trombone), Noah Bless (trombone), Mitch Frohman (sax/flute), Luis Quintero (timbales), George Delgado (congas), Jorge Gonzalez (bongos) and Gerry Madera (bass).Check out Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Internationally renowned trumpeter, composer and bandleader Marquis Hill constantly breaks down the barriers that divide musical genres. To Hill, contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house and neo-soul are all essential parts of his African American creative heritage. He’ll be performing with Makaya McCraven (drums), De’Sean Jones (tenor and soprano sax), Junius Paul (bass) and Jahari Stampley (piano).Check out Marquis Hill
Trumpeter, vocalist and songwriter Bria Skonberg has performed festivals and stages all over the world, from New Orleans to Montreal. She is known for her smoky vocals, unique arrangements and blistering trumpet solos. Her 2016 debut LP won a Canadian JUNO award and made the Top 5 on Billboard jazz charts. Joining her on stage is Mathis Picard (piano), Adi Meyerson (bass), Gabriel Schnider (guitar) and Darrian Douglas (drums).Check out Bria Skonberg
Emmet Cohen Trio
30-year-old jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation's pivotal figures in music. With the command of a seasoned veteran, the vibrant solo performer leads the Emmet Cohen Trio and is in constant demand as a sideman. Cohen will perform with Russell Hall (bass) and Kyle Poole (drums).Check out Emmet Cohen
Harp vs Harp: Edmar Castaneda & Grégoire Maret
Edmar Castaneda, a flashy Colombian harpist, and Grégoire Maret, a virtuoso Swiss harmonica (mouth harp) player, perform as a unique duo in Harp vs Harp, expressing their shared love of Brazilian music and jazz and showcasing their strong musical affinity.Check out Harp vs Harp
Jazz vocalist Catherine Russell’s musical resume includes six chart-topping albums and a Grammy as a featured artist on the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack. She has toured the world, performing and recording with David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Michael Feinstein and Wynton Marsalis, among others. Her interpretations of gems from the 1920s to the present burst with soul and humor. Russell will perform with Matt Munisteri (guitar), Tai Ronen (bass), Mark Shane (piano) and Mark McLean (drums).Check out Catherine Russell