Stay up-to-date on all of the buzz surrounding BLU Jazz+! Here you will find photos, interviews, press releases and other newsworthy information about Akron’s hottest new destination for live jazz!
AKRON, OH (by Alex Schechter, Vogue) – If there were a contest for the Ohio city with the most unexpected history, Akron would win. The hamburger was supposedly invented here. Thomas Edison visited often (his wife was an Akronite). Around the turn of the century, Akron’s supremacy in tire manufacturing helped it become known as the “rubber capital of the world.”
(And let’s not forget a certain NBA superstar who calls Akron home—they even renamed Main Street “King James Way” after him.)
Though it’s a city, Akron also has that bucolic, small-town charm going for it. There’s even a bike path that you can ride all the way up to Cleveland. The 85-mile “tow path” snakes through some of Ohio’s most scenic countryside, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the 11th-most-visited national park in the country, with its rolling hills, forests, hiking trails, and even waterfalls. Back in the 1800s, mules used to pull merchant boats up and down the historic Ohio and Erie canal, but the vibe is way more relaxed today: Chill Ice Cream, for example, sits right off the trail, making a convenient pick-me-up as you make your way through the valley.
But music might be Akron’s true legacy. It’s no coincidence that Devo, Chrissie Hynde, and The Black Keys all came out of Akron. “Akron, to me, is a very cool place,” says Maria Nagel, an employee of Lock 3, the city’s biggest outdoor music venue. “It’s a little cooler than Cleveland . . . it’s more avant-garde.” Indeed, during the 1940s and 1950s, when black musicians were routinely being turned away from hotels in Cleveland, Akron opened its doors—specifically, a cluster of eight or so jazz clubs that sprang up along Howard Street—and became known as the “jazz corridor” of the Midwest.
AKRON, OH (by Katie Byard, Akron Beacon Journal) – BLU Plate opened above BLU Jazz+ on Tuesday with a Red, White, & Blu Plate celebration.
It features a “Southern-inspired menu” featuring po’boys, gumbo, barbecue and more, and signature cocktails. A piano bar provides a musical “appeteaser,” encouraging people to go downstairs to the jazz club.
Developer Tony Troppe and partners opened BLU Jazz+ in 2014. It’s in the basement of the 1870s Hermes Building, which Troppe redeveloped and owns with partners. He has spearheaded a string of historic preservation projects downtown.
AKRON, OH — As part of the 2017-2018 concert season, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, one of Northeast Ohio’s most prominent & long-running big bands, will bring several shows from their subscription series at Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare to Akron’s BLU Jazz+.
Led by trombonist, composer & arranger, Paul Ferguson, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra (CJO) promotes jazz in its historical and contemporary forms, through concerts with gifted jazz musicians, arrangers, composers and educators in northeast Ohio.
The upcoming season is set to highlight some of the region’s finest talent, including featured guest performers Vanessa Rubin, Evelyn Wright, Russ Mitchell, Helen Welch, Ernie Krivda & Dan Wilson.
AKRON, OH (Downtown Akron loses 3 Point; eatery says shutdown related to underground fire last month, by Katie Byard, ohio.com)
Downtown Akron’s 3 Point restaurant, which shut down temporarily after an underground fire in December, has closed permanently after seven years on East Market Street.
Developer Tony Troppe, the building’s owner, said Wednesday the space would not be vacant for long.
He and partners in the BLU Jazz+ club in basement space below the restaurant plan to expand upstairs, creating a BLU dining spot.
We are really excited to be featured once again in DownBeat Magazine’s 2017 International Jazz Venue Guide (alongside our friends at Nighttown in Cleveland) as one of the world’s “remarkable rooms” for live jazz!
Thank you DownBeat for this most special recognition – jazz fans, pick up a copy of the February 2017 issue (out now) to see the complete list of premier live jazz venues across the globe!
by Ryan Cox / Allied Van Lines - “After you have toured the zoo and science center, head out to BLU Jazz+ for some adult time. This place is upscale, and the hidden door seems to stump people every time. It is definitely not your average lounge; it is a place where the rich and famous like to hang. Do not come here in jeans and a tee; you will be out of your element. The music is lively and the art is exquisite. The venue is conveniently located in the famous Market Street area of town, so feel free to bring a group of friends and hang out. They offer a wide variety of seating options for your comfort. They often have live bands on the weekends, and the food is out of this world. No wonder people call this club a hidden gem…”
AKRON, OH (words and photos by Dale Dong, Akronist) – On a recent Sunday evening, jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimée packed the house at Blu Jazz+, selling out the first show. Aimée is among the most talked about performers in jazz today, and her appearance continues the club’s effort to bring top jazz musicians to Akron.
AKRON, OH (words by Andrew Leask, photos by Svetla Morrison, The Devil Strip) – To introduce a song in her set at Blu Jazz+ on February 28, French-born jazz singer Cyrille Aimée told a story. One night, she and her bandmate, Michael Valeanu, were heading home to their respective apartments in New York City after a late jam session. As was their custom, Valeanu walked her to her subway stop first, and because it was late, waited for her train to come. Since the platform announcement screen showed that the next train would be arriving in nine minutes, Valeanu took out a book of poetry from his pocket and read to Aimée until her train arrived to take her home.
AKRON, OH (by Beth Thomas Hertz, Crain’s Cleveland Business) – The University of Akron is making a commitment to get its students more “real world,” hands-on experience through its newly formed Experiential Learning Center for Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement – or EXL Center for short. The center doesn’t officially launch until March 2, but its team is already at work, including holding the first of what is planned to be monthly “BluPrints to EXL” panel discussions at the Blu Jazz + club in downtown Akron.
AKRON, OH (by John Harper, cleveland.com) – By the end of the year, developer Tony Troppe wants to have a 65-room jazz-themed boutique hotel operating inside the United Building at the corner of Main and Market streets, the apex of downtown Akron.
Troppe’s work to transform the once dormant downtown into a noteworthy entertainment district has been underway for the better part of two decades, but with his new hotel Troppe is hoping to start something bigger.
“I think this hotel will be the catalyst for something greater,” Troppe said Wednesday. “We are putting a first-rate hotel right at Akron’s doorstep, and people will be surprised what they see when they step outside.”
|BLU Jazz+ was named one of the "Best Jazz Venues in the World" by DownBeat Magazine (2016, 2017)*|
|Committed to the preservation of America's treasured art form of jazz, BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation (BJMF) is a new program developed by the founders of BLU Jazz+ Akron that brings “front-row” jazz education performance & mentorship opportunities to student musicians and art lovers alike through an ongoing series of special events throughout the year.|