Tri-C JazzFest Celebrates Memphis
Festival to open with award-winning artists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Kirk Whalum presenting fresh takes on soulful classics from the city of their birth
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) today announced that Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum will join Dee Dee Bridgewater for a Memphis-inspired performance opening the 39th annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, presented by KeyBank.
Together, they will return to their Tennessee roots by performing jazz, blues and R&B classics associated with Memphis. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the KeyBank State Theatre at Playhouse Square.
The all-female big band DIVA will open the evening with a wall of sound, mixing standard big band repertoire and original creations.
“Few cities can claim anything like the Memphis music tradition,” said Terri Pontremoli, director of JazzFest. “Seeing Dee Dee and Kirk team up will be a powerful and one-of-a-kind experience.”
Bridgewater recruited Whalum as co-producer on her latest album, Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready, which she will perform at the festival. The opening night audience can expect covers of songs by Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Al Green and more.
Bridgewater stands as a jazz giant after a four-decade career that includes three Grammy Awards. In 2017, the National Endowment for the Arts honored her as a Jazz Masters Fellow during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Whalum still lives in Memphis, the city of his birth, where he mixes soulful jazz and works to “jazz up” church songs. His collection of albums titled The Gospel According to Jazz traces the soul of jazz to the church.
A dozen Grammy nominations and numerous solo albums and film soundtracks fill Whalum’s musical resume. He toured with Whitney Houston for more than seven years and soloed on her hit, “I Will Always Love You,” the best-selling single by a female artist in music history.
Whalum is also a member of popular soul/jazz group BWB, along with Rick Braun (trumpet) and Norman Brown (guitar).
The 2018 Tri-C JazzFest runs June 28-30 at downtown Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. This year’s festival includes eight ticketed concerts in the theater district’s historic venues, plus free outdoor performances by local and regional musicians.
Tickets are available through the Playhouse Square Box Office at 216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org.
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.
May 22, 2018
John Horton, 216-987-4281 firstname.lastname@example.org